Government to support matchmaking, men’s child-rearing to raise birthrate


The government plans to devise a series of measures to fight the nation’s low birthrate, such as promoting matchmaking and setting numerical targets for increasing men’s participation in child care, according to a draft policy outline obtained Thursday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet is expected to approve the draft, which also includes enhanced support for families with three or more children, later this month.

The draft outline calls for intensive efforts over the next five years through 2020, saying that Japan faces a “critical situation” where the dwindling number of children could shake its societal and economic foundation.

The government plans to increase the percentage of men taking paternity leave immediately after the birth of a child to 80 percent by 2020, and the percentage of men taking paternity leave for childrearing to 13 percent in 2020 from 2.03 percent in fiscal 2013, the draft said.

It also plans to support local governments offering speed dating and other forms of matchmaking. And it seeks to increase the share of local governments supporting residents’ marriage, pregnancy, child-bearing and child-rearing in a seamless manner from the current 14 percent, or 243 municipalities, to over 70 percent.

Other measures include expanding the scope of free nursery care and establishing fertility treatment counseling centers in all the prefectures and major cities in the nation.

In Japan, the fertility rate — the average number of children a woman will have over her lifetime — began falling from 4.54 in 1947 to as low as 1.26 percent in 2005. It recovered slightly in recent years, standing at 1.43 in 2013.

Japan could have a population of about 100 million in 2060 if it raised the fertility rate to 1.8 by 2030 and to 2.07 by 2040, according to the government’s long-term population vision compiled late last year.

  • Joe Joejoe

    Hey japan, give me a plane ticket and I’ll come help your birth rates.

  • P Diddy

    It’s amazing how completely daft governments can be about increasing birth rates. Maternity leave and subsidies and child care have not increased birth rates any where in the world so why would it work this time? You know what creates children? A whole lot of idle 13-30 year old women and a whole lot of employed men with good jobs. Something that is politically impossible so bye bye Japan.

  • Dan

    A good start but until you start improving the income and security of the lower classes they aren’t going to want to breed for you no matter how many holidays you throw at them.

  • J.P. Bunny

    The government can devise all the measures it wants, but unless it can guarantee one or both spouses a secure lifetime job/income, day care, affordable housing….no one is going to make more kiddies.

  • Avante

    Demographics in your local area play a huge role on how easy it will be to partner up. If there is a huge surplus of women in an area (like there is in Kagoshima), a lot of these women will never find a suitable partner to be the father of her children. Toyota on the other hand has a huge surplus of men. I believe this is not good for the birth rate.