Why Families Are a National Security Issue

Merry Isaacs White

in Perfectly Japanese

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780520217546
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936591 | DOI:
Why Families Are a National Security Issue

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This chapter discusses the cries and alarms of contemporary commentators worried about the shrinking birthrate in Japan. The need to ensure the futures of offspring makes demands on family economics and time, through greater investment in children's educational supports, longer years of co-residence with children who usually make little or no financial contribution to the household. There is an “our baby” image of co-parenting where the parents carefully share responsibility for home care, transport to day care, and other functions. This requires flexible work accommodation, difficult in most full-time work, and a decidedly organized attitude with which to confront the disbelief or perhaps dismay of employers and relatives. Childbearing choices are further constrained by the high cost of raising a successful child, and the standard definition of success is hard for parents to ignore. Having babies, when it is hard to have even one, let alone the multiple births advocated by commentators and officials, makes for complicated strategies of parenting.

Keywords: shrinking birthrate; Japan; family economics; childbearing; parenting

Chapter.  9667 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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