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In June 1991, I noticed an interesting newspaper editorial titled “Worrisome decrease in births,” which warned Japanese people that their hardworking ways as “corporate warriors” had led to a decreasing birthrate. More than 20 years ago, the Japanese mass media were already making much of this, yet the authorities have not taken any effective measures since then.

The intriguing thing is that the editorial was written in the last days of Japan’s so-called bubble economy. At that time, people had much less anxiety about their futures than they do now. That editorial blamed Japanese men for letting work mesmerize them so that they hardly ever thought of women and family members and thus made women reluctant to have a child. Nowadays, though, many people explain the declining birthrate as a symptom of the long-lasting lackluster economy and their anxiety about the future.

It is high time that we seek other reasons for the low birthrate. For starters, Japanese men need to take better care of, and pay more attention to, women, family members and their households.

Japanese society and the economic situation have drastically changed during the past two decades. For the time being, “corporate warriors” are no longer needed. Japanese men should compare what they’ve done with what they should have done, then mend their ways to help settle this issue.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

shuichi john watanabe

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