Behind the declining child population and the lingering income gap between Japanese men and women is the fact that husbands and wives do not take part in raising their children together.
For Toko Shirakawa's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Despite its rich, industrialized economy, Japan has yet to achieve much progress in equality between men and women.
It's time to close the loopholes that allow teachers who sexually harass students to remain in the education industry.
Japan's most precious asset is its children, yet estimated 350 of them die each year due to abuse.
Progress is being made in Japan, but legislation is needed to give anti-harassment efforts real teeth.
Japan is the sole country in which husband and wife are legally obliged to use the same surname. This should change.
Will the goverment's effort to implement labor reforms be enough to put an end to the notorious phenomenon of "karoshi"?
From news coverage to corporate behavior, Japan is still mired in a Showa Era mindset.
Mass media in this country remains a male-dominated community and its understanding of gender equality is far too insufficient.
To encourage more young people to start families, Japan must create an environment in which mothers can work and men do more to help out around the home.