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If the author of the article “Women, know your place” is being extremely sarcastic, then fine, but if she is being serious, she must be kidding. Japan faces a huge dilemma, with its aging and declining population and its low birthrate. If Japan does not act now, then the country as we know it will cease to exist. The government needs to stop quarreling and figure this problem out.

The population dilemma is a double-edged sword. From an economic standpoint, the declining population will naturally cause a decrease in productivity (less workers means less output). One option is to have workers work more hours, but this is not realistic for Japan as it appears that most workers are already working (or away from home) for 16 to 18 hours a day.

A better solution may be to make working conditions in Japan more family-friendly. This would mean men and women working less hours and spending more time at home as a family. Some may point out that if workers work less hours, productivity would fall. That is true in the short-term, but in the long run it would have better consequences because women would want to have more kids (because now their husbands are home more to help out) and more women would want to go back to the workforce. More kids would eventually lead to more workers to maintain the current level of productivity.

Fewer hours, therefore, could in turn maintain productivity and the population. But if the government and private companies sit idle or wait too long to act, then we will all lose and the predictions of the Japanese population being reduced by half in the next 40 years will come true.

david halphen

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