r/worldnews Nov 29 '22 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1

Japan births at new low as population shrinks and ages | Japan’s top government spokesperson said Monday that the number of babies born this year is below last year's record low

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/japan-births-new-low-population-shrinks-ages-94078296
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u/Ceratisa Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 30 '22 Starry

It is my personal opinion that if you want more people having children you need to make the prospect more affordable. You need to have the time, energy, and finances to raise a child

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u/pinkfootthegoose Nov 29 '22

that and 60 hour work weeks aren't helping.

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u/AMythicEcho Nov 29 '22

Exhaustion is such a mood killer.

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u/Komrade_Kompromat Nov 29 '22

And don't forget about the expectation that you'll grab drinks with the boss afterwards, if the things I've heard about Japanese salarymen are true.

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u/thats1evildude Nov 29 '22

Homer: I was karaoking with my employer, as is the salaryman’s obligation.

Marge: You’re stinking drunk! I’m so proud.

-from the Death Note episode

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u/Komrade_Kompromat Nov 29 '22

A perfectly cromulent reference.

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u/potterpockets Nov 29 '22

My spirit was embiggened simply by reading it.

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u/roadrunner5u64fi Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

Unfortunately my spirit is unembiggenable.

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u/nekoyasha Nov 29 '22

-from the Death Note episode

....I'm sorry. What?

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u/another_bug Nov 29 '22

The last Treehouse of Horror episode was a Death Note parody, with Lisa as Light. It's animated in an anime style, apparently by the same studio that did the real Death Note, if I remember right. I haven't seen it yet, but it looked good.

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u/hiddenuser12345 Nov 29 '22

Now I want to see Death Note done in the Simpsons style.

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u/cMtsirU Nov 30 '22

I'm going to nominate you for the Nobel

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u/Dante200 Nov 29 '22

Recent tree house of horrors had Simpsons base of Death Note.

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u/pinkfootthegoose Nov 29 '22

there are some great documentaries on youtube about college graduates in Japan finding their first job and the suit they all have to buy and the appearance they need to maintain. it's horrifying.

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u/electrorazor Nov 29 '22

Something's up when interview questions have "correct answers"

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u/NY_Knux Nov 29 '22

Thats how it is in America, too. I just learned, at 29 years old, that when an employer asked "where do you see yourself in x years?" They're ACTUALLY asking you if you plan to stay with the company short-term or long-term.

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u/WhatEvenIsFood Nov 29 '22

Don’t say “doing your wife”

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u/contractb0t Nov 29 '22

Doing your...son?

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u/T1res1as Nov 29 '22

Interviewer: ”Oh… well… my son is in fact gay and around your age. You know what you are hired. When can you start?”

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u/TheLuminary Nov 29 '22

Wait.. do people actually fall for this?

That reminds me, when I was interviewing for my first ever job, which was at McDonalds. One of the questions was basically, would you steal from the till. But they worded it in a way where it was just slightly less obvious. I asked the manager after if that actually works and she said that I would be surprised.

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u/theycallmeponcho Nov 29 '22

ne of the questions was basically, would you steal from the till.

When I interviewed at a national bank, they sent me to an office with lots of computers, started a quiz on one, with over 300 questions that went along:

  • Have you ever committed X?

  • Have you planned committing X?

  • Have you imagined yourself committing X?

  • Have you dreamed yourself committing X?

  • Have you talked about with someone about committing X?

  • Have you joked about committing X?

  • Have you confessed about committing X?

This and other questions were in the same order about committing fraud, stealing, arson, kidnapping, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, suicide, and others.

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u/Rinzack Nov 30 '22

Some of the financial regulations post 2008 mean that any sort of fraud conviction bars you from working at a bank of other financial institution. This is likely part of the reason

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u/Leaping_Turtle Nov 29 '22

Bust it and say "sitting in your chair"?

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u/countrygamerdad89 Nov 29 '22

Lol, relatable as I did this… I’m sitting in his chair now and he moved up, we still chuckle about it

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u/claushauler Nov 29 '22

Even worse when job applications require an attached photograph. Yes, that's a thing in Japan.

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u/Rakka7777 Nov 29 '22

It's also a thing in Poland.

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u/downstairs_annie Nov 29 '22

It’s slowly phasing out in Germany.

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u/Corona21 Nov 29 '22

Not to mention writing what your parents did/do for jobs

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u/Dhiox Nov 29 '22

Good old fashioned classism

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22

Wow, really? What country does this?

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22

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u/Damaniel2 Nov 29 '22

I think the US is the biggest country that doesn't accept (or want) photos attached to CVs - too much legal liability if you don't offer the candidate a job and the candidate suspects you may have made the decision based on protected class. On top of that, what you look like is extremely irrelevant for 99.9% of jobs out there.

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u/umru316 Nov 29 '22

I've worked at places that consider any application that has a picture to be ineligible to move forward in the process. They didn't want anyone to have room to make accusations about decisions related to pictures (like discrimination based on their own picture or someone else given preference based on their picture). It's one of the hiring policies that's made the most sense to me; that and removing names from applications for review.

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u/Sad-Corner-9972 Nov 29 '22

I’ve seen recent employer postings in US requesting no pics.

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u/Komrade_Kompromat Nov 29 '22

I had to put together a resume/CV for my Arabic class in college, and we had to do the same thing. Interestingly, we also had to include our religion.

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u/Enrage Nov 29 '22

I don’t know about “correct answers” on interviews, but I’ve certainly seen some incorrect ones.

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u/Komrade_Kompromat Nov 29 '22

I'll have to head down this rabbit hole this evening!

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u/FlackRacket Nov 29 '22

I have family in Japan, a salaryman earning the equivalent of about 70k usd

The boss told him to move to middle America for 2 years to help with an acquisition, which means leaving his wife and young kids behind, and the dude did it.

The level of company loyalty/dedication in Japan is wild, and Japan would be crushing it if they just got over their antiquated social hierarchies

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u/Silaene Nov 29 '22

It is not great, but there are a lot of caveats not mentioned in your comment. For a lot of overseas deployments for over half a year, the company is required to provide resources and financing for moving your direct family with you, if you request it. Being assigned to a position overseas is usually seen as being put on fast track to promotions etc when you return (international business experience, most likely language skills, etc). Also the business is responsible for paying for regular trips for you and family to your country of origin.

There are a host of problems as well, don't get me wrong, just don't want some of the nuance to be missed.

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u/ConstantConsumption Nov 30 '22

That very much depends on the reason for overseas deployment. If you're in manufacturing and you're deployed to start up some facility or help with the transition to a different equipment or whatever, you can be deployed for years and come back to exactly the same position as before because you haven't really done anything to advance your position. It will be dependent on your reason for overseas deployment and if it does help with fast tracking you for promotion, chances are you were already in a position favorable for promotion anyway.

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u/ttsnowwhite Nov 29 '22

I worked for a while in Japan and it wildly varies from place to place. My workplace sort of did a once a week teambuilding thing, but there are places that basically force you to go out three to four days a week.

And, once again it varies by place, the whole 60 hour workweek thing comes from this idea that no one wants to be the first to leave. so you just have these fucking strange sitting matches where you just wait for someone to break and leave finally, which gives everyone else the greenlight to leave.

After 5:30 or so they don't actually work, they just pretend that they are doing stuff and dart their eyes around the room playing chicken with the other employees.

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u/KitchenNazi Nov 29 '22

I used to do something like that many years ago - except I had a work laptop for home and the office. People would look through my office window and see my laptop and jacket and figure I was still around. Last to leave? More like first!

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u/elcabeza79 Nov 29 '22

Nicely done, Costanza.

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u/that_one_dude13 Nov 29 '22

Get the fuck outta here, I'm going home for 5:29:59 if I can think it'll to unnoticed. My bags packed by 2:30 tbh.

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u/9gagiscancer Nov 29 '22

5.29.59?

I always go 5 minutes early. My elevator rides to my car are paid.

And sometimes I come in 30 minutes late and if anyone asks where I was I simply say I went to have a shit. Stops further questions right in their tracks.

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u/KINGBANANA6666666 Nov 29 '22

Boss makes a dollar I make a dime that's why I shit on company time.

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u/anythingrandom5 Nov 29 '22

I work for a Japanese company in the US and we have members from japan that stay at the US branch for 2-5 years. I am always dumbfounded that even here in the US, the Japanese employees will stay til 7-8 every night, sometimes all the way til 10:00. And it’s not like they are doing anything. I’ve stopped by the office late at night to pick something up and they will just be sitting at their desks browsing the internet or goofing off on their phones but they absolutely will not go home. It’s definitely not the American managers making them stay. They just are so used to the culture that none of them will go home and they all “work” 12 hours a day or more.

My girlfriend is Japanese and she absolutely refuses to move back to Japan. She can’t go back to certain aspects of the culture.

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u/DontPoopInThere Nov 29 '22

I dated a girl from Korea for years, she left Korea for the same reasons in her early 20s, the work culture over there is absolutely brutal and similar to Japan, including the staying late, not being the first to leave, having to drink with your boss etc.

There's a hilarious bit in Korean tv show where a guy rings up his brother and asks him to go out, but he's in work. He looks around and says he can't be the first to go, then it goes through the office showing everyone pretending to work while waiting for their superior to leave, and they're waiting for their superior to leave, all the way up the chain lol

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u/DanskNils Nov 29 '22

Can’t you just tell them to go home? They are wasting their lives away at the office! Don’t they have hobbies?!

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u/Procrastinatedthink Nov 29 '22

mandatory paid overtime fixes this issue quickly

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u/Teledildonic Nov 29 '22

Or playing "Closing Time" on loop for 3 hours straight.

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u/KINGBANANA6666666 Nov 29 '22

Yup this shit would not fair well in Europe lol the managers and bosses would be pissed off for having to pay extreme overtime to folk who are goofing off for an extra 3-5 hours a day.

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u/Superb_Nature_2457 Nov 30 '22

It’s pretty frowned upon in the US too, but from a worker solidarity standpoint. After a certain point, you’re enabling worker exploitation with this unpaid OT bullshit.

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u/The-Jesus_Christ Nov 30 '22

I work for a Japanese company in the US and we have members from japan that stay at the US branch for 2-5 years.

My wife works for an insurance company owned by Nippon Life. The exec team and half the senior management are all Japanese and come down for 2 years at a time. As she's also senior management she works with them and she tells me that she can tell the Japanese managers feel conflicted because they know the work-life balance is better here in Australia but they don't want to be seen as doing anything different than they would back in Japan because they will pay for it when their term here ends.

In the same vein, as an Australian, I studied high school and worked in Japan and but never adopted the Japanese lifestyle to both. I never went to cram school and I went straight into working in IT when I graduated. I also refused the late nights. I was quiet quitting 20 years before it was a thing. I only ever moved up the chain by changing jobs as it rubbed people the wrong way so promotions didn't happen for me. I'm glad I did because when I came back to Australia, I didn't bring that Japanese worklife with me

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u/PicketFenceGhost Nov 29 '22

So the takeaway is make life worth living for everyone?

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u/Ceratisa Nov 29 '22

I'd actually argue that's part of being more affordable. No one should be working 60 hour work weeks. Even from a productivity standpoint it gives negative returns

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u/FuckUGalen Nov 29 '22

Except it is not about earning more, but "being seen at work"

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u/Irilieth_Raivotuuli Nov 29 '22

One of the big reasons why working from home was seen as such a unworkable concept- "How can you tell your boss you're working if he can't stalk you while you do so?"

The answer is trust and productivity, but that opens another can of worms.

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u/pinkfootthegoose Nov 29 '22

financially yes, but not socially when you have to do it to keep your job. It's a vicious cycle. easy fixes technically but hard to do politically.

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u/suprisinglycontent Nov 29 '22

Their resolution to a dying skill force is long working hours. Their problem with a dying skill force is long working hours.

It’s not hard to understand that bringing a child in this world with almost no window to raise them is a bad decision.

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u/LikeableMisfit Nov 29 '22

Also exacerbated by gender roles. Allegedly raising a kid is still completely a women's job in Japan, and many women work full time in Japan as well. Saw a documentary on how a Japanese husband couldn't bring and pick up a toddler from daycare because "he didn't know how."

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u/OKR3 Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

NYT had a good article on this in 2019.

[Prime Minister Shinzo Abe]...boasted that 67 percent of women were working in Japan, an all-time high and “higher than, say, in the United States.”

...men in Japan do fewer hours of household chores and child care than in any of the world’s wealthiest nations.

According to an analysis of government data by Noriko O. Tsuya, an economics professor at Keio University in Tokyo, women who work more than 49 hours a week typically do close to 25 hours of housework a week. Their husbands do an average of less than five.

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u/Doublethink101 Nov 29 '22

That’s it, that’s the answer. What women in her right mind would want to take on that type of burden? We, and Japan and other first world nations, either need to make a single income entirely possible or socialize the costs of raising children entirely with universal free daycare, etc. and then work really hard on the cultural side with PSAs and other strategies. It wouldn’t hurt to address the fact that significant portions of young people the world over are no longer hopeful that the world is getting better or that the future of their children will be brighter than theirs either.

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u/SyntaxLost Nov 29 '22

I know you meant it as part of your "etc" but it's worth saying explicitly: you can't ignore the housing situation. Nobody's having kids if the only place they can afford is a tiny apartment.

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u/UsernameIn3and20 Nov 30 '22

Tiny apartment + shit work + shit working hours + shit social practices + double working parents and you got a perfect storm of nobody fucking enough to produce babies.

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u/qpgmr Nov 30 '22

Exactly. A woman in Japan can do well at University, get a job, climb the ladder, enjoy life & travel - but if she gets married and/or has a kid, she's literally dismissed while the husband is expected to be at work 8 am - 11pm.

Japan's gov't is literally "we've tried nothing and we're out of ideas"

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u/Procrastinatedthink Nov 29 '22

a lot of child-rearing activities are much more complicated than given credit for.

Obviously not dropping/picking up a child, but enrollment, before/after school services, bus services, lunch, homework, cleaning, etc are exhausting and can be a lot more complicated than “call x number”

The traditional female gender role is fucking tough and exhausting, it’s no wonder women over 30 have a tough time finding/understanding hobbies and arent seen as often with hobbies.

I just wanted to rant as a young dad trying to be fair to my wife and not expect her to be my mom, being in charge of the household is hard time consuming work.

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u/Bambinah515 Nov 30 '22

My daughter hasn’t let me read a book or bathe for five years I don’t even recognize myself anymore, I just have one child because I’m not sure I’ll even be a human being after a second child.

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u/FardoBaggins Nov 30 '22

i agree. my grandparent's generation had multiple kids in their family, 3-7. was the norm.

I had 1 aunt and 5 uncles.

how my grandparents dealt with it was amazingly simple, my grandfather left the family and grandmother moved away to new york for a while and found a new husband.

how other families did not disintegrate during that time is beyond me.

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u/Antique_Belt_8974 Nov 29 '22

Not with the younger men. Many I know are very active in raising their kids because both spouses work.

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u/stolemyusername Nov 29 '22

Well thankfully this is offset by Japan letting in a large amount of refugees every year increasing year after year as well!!

27 refugees in 2020 and 74 in 2021! Astounding

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22 edited Dec 17 '22

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u/MaterialCarrot Nov 29 '22

That and ROI. If you owned a small farm in the preindustrial age then a bunch of kids can be a net gain. In a Western country in today's world they are nothing but a financial drain. I say that as a guy with two grown kids who I adore and wouldn't trade for all the money in the world, but the ROI on that substantial investment is many decades down the road, and is a societal benefit rather than direct financial benefit to me.

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u/BlackPrincessPeach_ Nov 29 '22

What if we make people work 80 hours a week and pay them shit?

Surely if we just keep piling on more hours and shit pay there’s a breaking point…

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u/Annoying_guest Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 30 '22 Gold

Young people continue to tell old people exactly why they aren't having kids and the old people just say "no that can't be it"

Edit: thanks for the gold

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u/Knuk Nov 29 '22

Sounds like my friend's workplace. Everyone's leaving, saying "salary is shit". Management says "We can't figure it out!" and "Salary isn't a factor on retention". Friend is about to leave too, classic how that goes

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u/not_old_redditor Nov 29 '22

Same at my company. Managers saying young applicants are asking for crazy salaries, and they can't find anyone reasonable. Is everyone is crazy, or are you the unreasonable one?

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u/beigs Nov 30 '22

My FIL just claimed people don’t want to work anymore and he can’t hire anyone.

I told him to up his salary to match inflation for the last 20 years.

Nope, it’s the work ethic.

Kids aren’t going to grid for just above minimum wage, especially if they can’t survive.

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u/Muscled_Daddy Nov 30 '22

I think it’s a form of financial illiteracy.

In 1985, a $20,000 salary would be equivalent to $50,000 today. $35,000 would be nearly $100,000.

I know a lot of people in positions of power who just assume that $35,000 has the same power as it did nearly 40 years ago.

I mean, even millennials are victims of this. $75,000 in 2000 is worth nearly $130,000 today.

$75,000 is not a bad salary. But $130,000 is nearly double that.

People need to constantly look at what their skills are worth today. Not from when they started or entered the industry. Leaders need to do the same.

Unfortunately, on the managerial side, I do think most of it is willful ignorance more than incompetence.

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u/swannygirl94 Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

Just last week I had someone from admin make a comment to me “I just don’t understand what companies potential jobseekers are comparing our wages against.” The answer is literally anywhere because we barely offer a little more than minimum wage. It was the most out of touch thing I’ve ever heard someone say.

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u/sleepydorian Nov 29 '22

Most job seekers already have jobs, so it's very likely they are comparing to their current wage. If they don't and have multiple offers, then they are comparing those. If they only have one offer and it's dogshit, they still might say no, as the point of the social safety net (whether govt or private) is to give people a way out of dogshit situations.

If your model is "people will take this job before they starve", then, by God, you have some self reflection to do.

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u/hoxxxxx Nov 30 '22

Most job seekers already have jobs,

i feel like that is forgotten by many that misunderstand the situation

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u/Spazmer Nov 30 '22

My husband's work can't figure out why they can't retain new hires. Can it be that the starting wage is LESS than it was 20 years ago?? That people quickly realize it's a terrible idea to kill their bodies in an automotive factory for barely more than minimum wage? Nah!! The real solution is to have the managers buy the new employee a coffee and have a little chat to get to know them better. That'll keep them.

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u/Dynamitefuzz2134 Nov 30 '22

“We’re like a family”

“My family cares about my well being Karen. I need fucking money”

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22

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u/Sloogs Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

Sounds like my old workplace too. Salary maybe less of an issue 11 years ago, as it was a decent amount above median at that time, but literally everything else was garbage and at this point it's basically right around the median so people are leaving for better work-life balance, or even willing to take a pay cut.

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u/Big-Problem7372 Nov 30 '22

We had a big employee survey about why our turnover is so high (over 200% this year). I pointed out that every morning I drive past a billboard for a car wash offering higher starting wages than us.

I got chastised by management because "my feedback was not constructive."

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u/jaduhlynr Nov 30 '22

I feel you, I have to drive past a Panda Express everyday that pays more than my job that required a bachelors degree and two years of experience… sigh

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u/BenUFOs_Mum Nov 30 '22

You don't have to, you could drive to panda express each day and make succulent Chinese meals for a living.

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u/Amekaze Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

Me and my mom have this argument once a week. Mom : “where are my grandkids?!!!” Me: “I’m to broke to have kids” Mom : “ but you have money. You keep buying computer stuff “ Me: looking at the $2k worth of electronics I bought in like the last 2+ years -_-

Edit: by -> buying

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u/SintPannekoek Nov 29 '22

Jezus… I can buy a MacBook for every month worth of daycare. Ffs…

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u/cjfb62 Nov 29 '22

I am so sad that I looked up the current cost of a MacBook and the current 13” prices are cheaper than what I’m paying per month in daycare. We’re about to have our 3rd increase in tuition this year so it might be more like a 16” MacBook next month. 😔

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u/SideburnSundays Nov 29 '22

“It’s not my responsibility to provide you with entertainment.”

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u/Ceratisa Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

Young: I can't afford it.

Old: No... that doesn't seem right.. my job let me support your parents and dress them all in rags and it was fine.

Mom, I can't even afford the rags for myself.

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u/Fenix42 Nov 29 '22

When my in-laws where getting ready to retire to another state they started putting a ton of pressure on my wife to have a 2nd kid. They want to be here for the birth and all that. We flat told them we could not afford a 2nd kid.

Their response was "if everyone waited to be able to afford kids to have them, no one would have kids".

I was at a complete loss as to what to say.

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u/Kit_starshadow Nov 29 '22

The part that gets me is “retire to another state.” My parents never pushed us to have kids, but live close by and always, ALWAYS are happy to lend a hand or help us financially if we need it. They wouldn’t dream of moving away unless it was necessary for a job. (And they’re retired now with a paid for house, so it’s a moot point.)

Just today, my dad took my kid to school because I had an early appointment. It got cancelled and I called my mom to let her know I could swing by and take care of drop off. She told me not to because he was so looking forward to those 5 minutes with my kid.

What’s the point of begging for grandkids then moving away?!

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u/Fenix42 Nov 29 '22

They where completely focusing on them selfs at that point. Literally every conversation was about what they wanted. They wanted a new grand kid before they went because they like babies. We where the only kids still around and married. Rest where not married or had moved out of state already as well.

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u/Roach_Coach_Bangbus Nov 29 '22

What’s the point of begging for grandkids then moving away?!

People's brains are melting from sitting in front of the TV watching the news all day. My mother-in-law is talking about moving to the other side of the country even though it makes no sense for them and we're like "you know you won't be able to see your grandkids much if you do that right?" and she's like "ohhh well we will visit and you'll visit". We said we might visit once, everyone is on the West Coast and I don't want to buy a bunch of plane tickets to go to Elizabethtown. It's just nonstop "California bad" shit even though they are rich and California has been very good to them. I dunno anymore.

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u/EmotionalSuportPenis Nov 30 '22 edited Nov 30 '22

As a native Kentuckian, what kind of smoothbrain would willingly move to KY at all, let alone E-Town of all places? E-Town is a wasteland of strip malls and nothing that bulldozed almost all of its historical architecture that maybe might have given it a smidgeon of personality in favor of more strip malls, subdivisions, and stroads.

There's literally nothing to do there. Zero things. For fuck's sake, Hardin County is still a dry county, so you can't even easily drink yourself into complete oblivion to forget the fact that you're stuck in E-Town.

Literally the only thing it has going for it is that that people aren't killing themselves with heroin overdoses just to escape a life of desperation and poverty like they are in a lot of the Eastern Kentucky counties like Clay County, which is where I spent a good chunk of my childhood summers.

Have your parents ever actually visited somewhere like E-Town? Jesus Christ.

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u/Roach_Coach_Bangbus Nov 30 '22

My mother in laws husband has family there (that he doesn't like). They are buying some acreage that has a real shit house on it, borderline tear down. They have been there but I don't get it.

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u/jezalthedouche Nov 29 '22

My mother would push me to have children so she can be like all her friends with multiple grandchildren, while she ignores the grandchild that she does have and has basically no interaction with him.

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u/Arpakasso_Love Nov 29 '22

Same. How do you even respond?? Mom told me she was broke when she had my sibling and I.

Like, yes, I remember her cutting a 99c McDonald's hamburger in half for us to share as a core childhood memory. I don't particularly want my kid(s) growing up like that.

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22 edited Dec 06 '22

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u/Adrian915 Nov 29 '22

How do you even respond?? Mom told me she was broke when she had my sibling and I.

I remember her cutting a 99c McDonald's hamburger in half for us to share as a core childhood memory. I don't particularly want my kid(s) growing up like that.

That's exactly how you respond. I gave my close ones a similar answer when they asked. It may be cold, but people avoiding cold answers is what got us here.

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u/jljboucher Nov 29 '22

Yeah my mom gets defensive and angry but heaven forbid I get another tattoo instead of birthing a 3rd kid.

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u/tooandahalf Nov 29 '22

If you hired a super high priced artist to do an entire body, full color tattoo job... You wouldn't come close to the cost of a kid.

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u/MikeTheGamer2 Nov 29 '22

And it'snot just a monetary cost. That's the cost you can see. The physical and mental costs are the dangerous ones.

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u/BearBL Nov 30 '22

Don't forget time. All your free time is now not free time

....if such a thing even still existed regardless of kids or no kids

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u/Adrian915 Nov 29 '22

my mom gets defensive and angry

That's how you know she knows you're right. That's a 'her' problem, not a 'you' problem.

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u/another_bug Nov 29 '22

I'd suggest saying you'll consider it when there's a strong social safety net including guaranteed housing, healthcare, education, food, daycare, sufficient work leave for both parents, etc. Watch how fast "Just have the baby and figure it out as you go!" turns into "If you can't feed them don't breed them!"

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u/UnorignalUser Nov 29 '22

My parents were doing pretty OK when they decided to have kids.

Then everything went to shit when I was little and stayed shit until, well now more or less.

Fuck there is barely enough money to pay my bills now, how the fuck am I supposed to pay for another couple peoples needs? My childhood was stressful as fuck because of my parents financial situation. I have no desire to drag other people into that knowingly.

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u/HuevosSplash Nov 29 '22

I don't understand why some of you are so polite when other people are so insistent on dictating your sex life. My parents tried that shit with my wife and I and I was blunt with them that I wasn't tolerating them inquiring about when it was an adequate time to creampie my wife for the sake of shitting out a baby we don't want.

Make that shit awkward, they'll get the hint eventually.

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u/Fenix42 Nov 29 '22

That was basically what I did. In our case, we had planned on having 2 kids. First kid happened a few years earlier then planned. So we adjust they plan. Still ended up having a 2nd kid, there is 7 years between them, not 3-4 like we had planned.

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u/Act_of_God Nov 29 '22

Their response was "if everyone waited to be able to afford kids to have them, no one would have kids".

yeah, that's right

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u/Ceratisa Nov 29 '22

Tell them that sex is no longer the only viable recreational activity after work and times change.

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u/cowtow Nov 29 '22

It’s worse, because the most extreme olds wanna take our contraceptives away too.

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u/ParticularYak9967 Nov 29 '22

I graduated college in '15 got married in '17. I didn't have a job and we couldn't afford wedding bands or the downpayment on a house, got married in our apartment. My inlaws and parents both talked about babies for ab 3yrs in there and it genuinely opened my eyes to how they see me/what they want for me. Just felt sad and detatched from them all as a result.

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u/Ceratisa Nov 29 '22

It's the sad reality, many don't seem to understand they want better for themselves and potential children than they had.

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u/greenathlete3 Nov 29 '22

They love to say "there's never a good time to have kids, you just make it work!" If people can't find $1700 in their monthly budget for daycare, then the money doesn't exist (just one example.) It's just willful ignorance.

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u/zombie_penguin42 Nov 29 '22

Am I out of touch?

No it's the young people who are wrong.

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u/Mischevouss Nov 29 '22

Doubt old people really give a shit. If anything burden would disproportionately fall on kids today as they grow up and have to shoulder burden of increasing number of old people

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u/SwashAndBuckle Nov 29 '22

Doubt old people really give a shit

They don't care about other people's kids, but most old people desperately want as many grandkids as they can get their hands on.

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22 Gold Helpful Wholesome Hugz Take My Energy

There are so many issues that feed into why the low birth rate in Japan. A lot has to do with Japanese work culture and home culture though. If a woman works full time, she's still expected to do most/all of the child rearing and all of the household chores and the household finances. The husband will be absent because of the insane amount of hours working.

So basically you end up with one adult that's exhausted because of work constantly, and the other basically has three full time jobs and is seen as a failure if they can't balance everything. That's also on top of trying to get the child into a daycare, for which there are generally insane waiting lists (like you register when you find out you're pregnant and hope to get a spot by the kid turns two).

There are also other issues. Doctors are frequently unkind to women during their pregnancy, and the stay during birth is also fairly unpleasant. I live in Japan and just gave birth this month, but having to deal with that for the last year was exhausting and makes me not want to have a second child just to avoid having to deal with that again. I've been chewed out multiple times for allowing myself to get fat during pregnancy (I weight seven pounds more after birth than I did before, and was still lectured for being fat), I was lectured for not eating a diet that was proper for a Japanese baby (the doctor tried to go off on me for eating Western foods, like pasta, instead of a strictly Japanese diet), and I was constantly told conflicting information (such as to control my blood sugar, and then the next doctor would go off on me for not eating enough white rice because apparently, according to the doctor, Japanese white rice is healthier than any other rice from any other country and won't cause blood sugar issues), and when I finally was in labor was dismissed as lying or just complaining about a little pain (I nearly gave birth alone in a room in the hospital because everyone kept dismissing me).

And then during the required five day stay the nurses continuously put diapers a size too small on my baby, making the baby cry and scream with every diaper change and now they have a rash around their abdomen from it (the nurses kept insisting that the diapers were newborn diapers, and thus for all newborns, without listening to me when I pointed out that my baby was bigger than the other babies and needed bigger diapers), I was constantly shamed for breastfeeding (I was told repeatedly by doctors and nursing staff that it's not possible to have a healthy baby if a mother only breastfeeds, and that formula is necessary for a healthy baby. There's nothing wrong with my milk supply, I'm pumping and measuring now to make sure, and baby was up to their birth weight in seven days with just breastfeeding, but the medical staff all pushed that the other mothers were all formula feeding, and that me breastfeeding was bad for my baby. And they send me home with a full bag of formula samples and 'literature'. With added excuses like 'baby can't get calcium from breastmilk' and 'it will be inconvenient if you want to sleep'), and I was told it was 'strange' that I wanted to keep my baby with me while I was in the hospital instead of just putting the baby in the nursery and 'enjoying a relaxing stay'. It's like medical staff treat mothers as a byproduct to making the baby, and were confused as to why I wanted to hold and have a relationship with my baby.

All in all, trying to have and raise children in Japan, as a woman, is stressful and time expensive. And until Japan really cracks down on work culture to encourage families to actually be a family, and stops with whatever the fuck is wrong with their medical system, it's always going to continue to be an issue. I'm lucky that I have relatives that live nearby who can help out when I need it, and are retired and thus don't have time constraints like others (and are active enough to take care of a child when I need a helping hand), but that's outside the norm. It's a shitshow for most of the country.

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u/SophisticatedCelery Nov 30 '22

Holy shit I had no idea parental education was so backward in Japan! I'm so happy you fought for what you wanted, you sound amazing

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u/Pro_Yankee Nov 30 '22

Don’t be fooled by the neon lights and new technology. Japan is an extremely conservative and old timey country.

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u/-CrestiaBell Nov 30 '22

"New technology" meanwhile I still have to fax things to my employers...

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u/Soleil06 Nov 30 '22

Welcome to germany as well, where I need to fax everday from my incredibly modern ICU.

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u/ExpertLevelBikeThief Nov 30 '22

Do they not teach nutrition to medical professionals in Japan?

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22

I got examined by a doctor that took twenty very painful minutes to find my cervix when I was entering labor. I don't think they teach basic medical knowledge to some doctors.

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u/ExpertLevelBikeThief Nov 30 '22

That is incredibly embarrassing.

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u/Woflax Nov 30 '22

I kind of expected the diet thing but I didn't realise they were all in on formula disinformation.

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22

I honestly didn't expect it either. I knew my husband was asking when we were going to buy formula, and I kept telling him that, unless there was an issue with my milk, we weren't going to. But I didn't realize that it was because that's what the Japanese medical system teaches.

Like yes, if there had been issues with my milk not coming in/not supplying enough, I would definitely use formula to supplement or completely. Fed is best for babies. But I haven't had that issue. I'm pumping as well as direct feeding and my baby is happy, active, and growing. So there's no issue, and I really hate them for pushing formula so heavily when it's not necessary.

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u/Woflax Nov 30 '22

I wonder if it's the medical school or companies pushing it on doctors. In my original country there are people that go round advertising medicine to doctors, and probably formula too, I'm not sure if they get a cut or what, but they get samples and biased information designed to sell the product.

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22

Probably profit pushers. This was a Red Cross hospital, and I think they're a for profit organization here in Japan. They certainly seem to have brand loyalty given what they sent me home with. The little set to clean the umbilical cord was useful and appreciated, the giant bag full of stuff about formula and samples was not. The container of laundry detergent, though not normally a brand I use, was also appreciated because it's always nice to have some more detergent on hand.

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u/TestingBlocc Nov 30 '22

Are you western? And your husband is Japanese? I know you said you live in Japan but I don’t want to assume. Because for a “western” Asian country, Japan has it backwards as fuck with medical knowledge.

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22

I'm American and my husband is Japanese.

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u/Disig Nov 30 '22

I knew about the work culture, the expectation of women to literally do it all and be superwoman, and the extreme lack of daycares. But I had no idea about everything else. Sweet Jesus no wonder no one is having kids there.

It's sad because I've been hearing about the government's "attempts" to get people to have kids more and it's honestly laughable. They have no goddamn idea what is really going on and just seem completely out of touch.

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22 Gold

The old men running the government give no shits as long as their pockets are lined. But yeah, their 'attempts' are a joke.

There is a child allowance per child. It covers practically nothing. And there's free public childcare from age two on, but only at public schools. Public daycares have huge waiting lists because everyone wants in them, and there are serious burn out issues in childcare. The pay is low and the hours are long and the work can be very stressful, so a lot of teachers only last a few years and quit. I actually work at a private daycare/preschool, and I'm happy to be having this year off for maternity leave. Childcare with not enough teachers is exhausting, and everyone is always short staffed.

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u/ButDidYouCry Nov 30 '22

They have no goddamn idea what is really going on and just seem completely out of touch.

The country is run by male seniors who are out of touch and treat women with disdain. So yeah.

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u/beatenmeat Nov 30 '22

I was constantly shamed for breastfeeding (I was told repeatedly by doctors and nursing staff that it's not possible to have a healthy baby if a mother only breastfeeds, and that formula is necessary for a healthy baby.

Of all the crazy things you listed off—and there really are so many— this one just comes off as the dumbest to me. Here you have a doctor, supposedly highly educated, that somehow believes you can’t raise a child without using formula. Did they not once stop to think what the fuck humans did before the invention of formula?

It honestly sounds like Nestle got ahold of their education system over there…

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u/ClancyHabbard Nov 30 '22

Close. Meiji, which is another major candy manufacturer as well. Nestle makes Japanese KitKats, but I don't know if they make any of their baby formula. But how pushy they were really did remind me of that completely.

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u/thenewhalleloo Nov 30 '22

Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry you and your baby have been treated so poorly during what is already a harrowing and taxing experience even in the best of circumstances. I’m glad that you have nearby family support. Wishing you all the best!

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u/SomeRealTomfoolery Nov 30 '22

God, I can’t believe I didn’t take Japans rampant misogyny into account. I can’t believe that everytime I peel back the brightly colored anime coating I find more horrible shit about Japan.

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u/ButDidYouCry Nov 30 '22

God, I can’t believe I didn’t take Japans rampant misogyny into account.

I think everyone tends to not take Japan's rampant misogyny into account. Kinda surprised you watched anime and missed like so much of it...

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u/Dalmah Nov 30 '22

didn't take Japans rampant misogyny into account

brightly colored anime

Were you even watching the anime?

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u/FromTheOrdovician Nov 30 '22

Sad reality that include NEETs and Hikikomori

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u/[deleted] Nov 30 '22

You should only have to peel it back once. Have you ever been to Japan? If so, have you ever been out of one of the major cities? Even going to the suburbs of Japan should peel the veneer right off.

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u/spicyhippos Nov 29 '22

Work hours: increasing

Pay: decreasing

Housing Cost: exponentially increasing

Moral conclusion: I can’t afford to give another child a good life.

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u/buyagoat Nov 30 '22

Whaaat? No that can't be the reason. How did you reach that conclusion? It must be that the younger generation is selfish and lazy.

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u/Unr3p3nt4ntAH Nov 29 '22

If they want to fix this problem, they need to fix their entire work culture.

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u/coochie4sale Nov 29 '22

To be fair, the whole developed world is having this problem. From Australia, to Sweden. Developed east Asia definitely has it the worst, but Japan is about the middle of the pack as far as developed countries go. I’d wager that it’s something about modernity that depresses birth rates. It’s an unsolved problem. Immigration is a stopgap, but then those immigrants kids end up converging with the rest of the population, so you’re really only kicking it down the road.

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u/cooldood1119 Nov 29 '22

In Europe and America it is widely seen as an economic problem, children are legitimately expensive, even more so with the cultural development of many families requiring both parents to work which makes it more difficult to support or even consider having children

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u/cultured_banana_slug Nov 30 '22

America really is its own case... we don't have universal healthcare or paid parental leave, so having the kid can be massively expensive right off the bat, and then we don't get time off to care for it early on either.

We expect mothers to go back to work right after giving birth... even if they've had a C-section, ffs.

And a solid chunk of the country is A-OK with it because they don't think women should have jobs anyway.

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u/Wide-Confusion2065 Nov 30 '22

My cousin went back to work within 7 days of giving birth. Minimum wage before fmla. I could not imagine

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u/AnacharsisIV Nov 29 '22 Silver

I’d wager that it’s something about modernity that depresses birth rates.

The biggest correlation to declining birthrates is female education. Women with education, jobs and prospects have better things to do than be baby factories.

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u/daviddjg0033 Nov 29 '22

People are also told to delay. I remember being in my mid 20s saying the exact same thing and now I see people trying later in life.

Some careers are cut short and bosses are known to fire pregnant women without due cause.

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u/cassert24 Nov 29 '22

South Korea and Japan competing who's gonna record the lowest fertility rate.

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u/Tuxhorn Nov 29 '22

It's not a competition. Korea is in their own league. Japan looks like a saint comparatively.

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u/cassert24 Nov 29 '22

Is Japan's 1. something? Then you're right. The 0.something league vs. The 1.something league.

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u/Neverending_Rain Nov 30 '22

Japan is about 1.34. South Korea is 0.81.

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u/RedChancellor Nov 30 '22

It reached 0.75 the second quarter of this year for Korea.

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u/jasoncyke Nov 29 '22

Don't forget Hong Kong too, on par with South Korea.

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u/Eviltechnomonkey Nov 29 '22

Maybe don't let your health minister regularly call women birthing machines. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-politics/birth-giving-machine-gaffe-hits-nerve-in-japan-idUST16444120070202

Don't block women who get married from making changes to joint banking accounts and such. Saw one back in 2010 where an American or European woman married a Japanese guy. They moved addresses and she realized they hadn't updated it when she went to the bank. They actually notified her because of how you have to update your address with certain government agencies whenever you move in Japan. So, she went in and said she wanted to update the address and had her updated ID card. They wouldn't let her. They said the "Head of the Household" aka her husband had to be the one to do so.

Don't expect women to drop from their jobs to SAHM, or only a part-time job, even when they are the main breadwinner for the family and/or love their careers.

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u/dennybang4292 Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

As someone from Korea.. we going down much quicker than them loool. Our brith rate is like 0.84 per woman. Japan’s is like 1.34. At last we beat Japan in something /s

Edit: I am dumb. Edited the unit

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u/Tuxhorn Nov 29 '22

Aye korea is somehow not just a lot worse, but in an entire different reality. I think comparing to japan, lower general wages, same shitty work life and higher housing are some of the reasons why korea is doing terrible.

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u/-SPM- Nov 29 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

It’s funny how a lot of the popular stereotypes about Japan, actually apply more to South Korea.

Low birth rates? South Koreas are lower, High suicide rates? South Koreas are higher, Long work hours? South Koreas are longer, Technologically advanced? South Korea would be considered more advanced

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u/Proxyplanet Nov 30 '22

Even the US suicide rate is higher than Japans. So its really weird when you hear Americans talk about how high Japans suicide rate is.

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u/milbriggin Nov 30 '22

because literally 100% of their knowledge of japan comes from reddit comments and once you've read 1 thread about japan on reddit you've read every single one of them (and it's almost always made up or extremely exaggerated)

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u/Secret_Ladder_5507 Nov 29 '22

I have two kids and live in a major US city. Daycare costs $2,800/kid per month or $5,600/both per month. That's most of my post-tax income, but I do it so I don't have a major gap in my resume once they go to school, plus not being 5-6 years behind my male coworkers. We basically just live off my husband's salary. It sucks.

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u/themightyknight02 Nov 29 '22

That's insanely high!!!!!!!

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u/Chiliconkarma Nov 29 '22

High enough to motivate some people into stay at home-parenthood, which may be a point of it,

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u/Secret_Ladder_5507 Nov 29 '22

Ya but then we couldn't afford to live near a major city where my husband gets the salary that makes up most of our income, and would hurt our long-term prospects if I didn't keep up with the rat race for those 5-6 years... It's a lose/lose.

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u/Taviiiiii Nov 29 '22

In Sweden the legal maximum fee is 150$ per month for the first child, 100$ for the second and 50$ for the third.

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u/TheVega318 Nov 30 '22

So they are HEAVILY subsidized by the government? Because obviously you couldnt run a buisness or pay employees meaningful wages unless you took a daycare with 500 kids

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u/NasalForce Nov 30 '22

Yes, it’s subsidized by taxes, as is our healthcare and other systems (Scandinavia in general)

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u/ScTiger1311 Nov 29 '22

I would absolutely babysit 2 kids for 5,600 a month and I bet your 2 children aren't even the only ones. That's insane.

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u/madness817 Nov 30 '22

Meanwhile most staff at these facilities are paid poverty wages while the owners rake in insane yearly income off their backs

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u/Ok-Control-787 Nov 30 '22

Is there some serious barrier to entry? If it's such an easy cash cow maybe I could do it without being shitty.

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u/Neonvaporeon Nov 30 '22

Insurance is insanely expensive for daycare

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u/JewishFightClub Nov 30 '22

Yup, and in my state if you want to be licensed everything has to be ADA compliant. I lost a great babysitter because her basement was the main playroom and they were going to shut her down unless she installed an elevator and she just couldn't afford to retrofit everything

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u/Spudcommando Nov 29 '22

Insane work culture plus high cost of living. Who the hell would have kids in that situation?

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u/JP1426 Nov 29 '22

Is the cost of living high there? My friend lived there for 2 years and said his rent for his apartment was roughly $800 a month in Yokohama

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u/ThingsThatMakeMeMad Nov 29 '22

Housing in Japan is fairly cheap, shrinking population and all.

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u/ChristianLW3 Nov 29 '22

South Korea has an even lower fertility rate, plenty of emmagration, & tiny immigration

Still real estate prices continue to increase there

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u/Zerole00 Nov 29 '22

How haunted is the average house?

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u/Riplamin Nov 29 '22

Probably not very, houses out there only last a decade or two before they're demolished and rebuilt.

Seems a bit weird to me having lived in Victorian era houses that still probably have a good fifty to a hundred years in them before they're a danger to live in.

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u/warrri Nov 29 '22

Not that many earthquakes in Europe.

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u/Tuxhorn Nov 29 '22

Housing in japan is amongst the cheapest in the wealthy world.

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '22

Japan is actually more affordable than lots of places in the EU and the US with higher birth rates.

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u/Legacy_Service Nov 29 '22

Is financial burden Japan's reason though? After watching all those "A day in the life of" videos about Japan. It sounded like it's a cultural issue. Nobody talks with each other. They are extremely isolated while living in close proximity.

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u/PotatoesGrowOnTrees Nov 29 '22

Potentially... I recall an Economist article noting a survey in which the "most frequent reason cited by Japanese couples for having fewer children is the cost of raising and educating them", for example.

This problem seems particularly acute in the the Far East, where there's a big emphasis on paying for "shadow education" e.g. from private tutors.

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u/localhost8100 Nov 30 '22

I saw a girl where she works 11 to 11, 6 days a week as waitress. Wtf social life is she gonna have with that working condition.

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u/attackofthetominator Nov 29 '22

When people are smart enough to realize that having kids is financial suicide (especially for women), no shit they're deciding to not have them.

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u/nooo82222 Nov 29 '22

Let’s not even talk about finances , kids take up a lot of time

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u/Gracebbyl3 Nov 29 '22

I would imagine it as more to do with time, how can you raise a child working 60+ hours? You don’t even have the time to conceive one.

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u/ImpressoDigitais Nov 29 '22

I will go with "kids are financial self-harm".

Still, not for me.

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u/Nanukara Nov 30 '22

As a Japanese woman, I want to add that low birth rate might not be just bad things like stress from working too much or having little money.

I and my friend do not want children because we want to have fun ourselves. I think that older generations felt that there was no choice but to have children after reaching adulthood. I think this is showing that we have more freedom in our future than older generations.

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