It is no secret that Japan is experiencing a halt in population growth. This can be attributed to a large percentage of young adults in Japan that have lost their interest in sex. This has become a serious problem for Japan because they already have one of the lowest birth rates in the world and a shrinking population. Not only have the Japanese lost their interest in sex, but there is also little interest in binding institutions such as relationships and marriage. The result from this loss of interest in sex has aroused the concern of the Japanese government to the point where the media has named this phenomenon "celibacy syndrome".
A study done in 2011 shows that out of young people in Japan ages 18-34, 49% of women and 61% men say that they are not in any kind of romantic relationships. More shockingly, another survey reported that one third of people under thirty have never been in a relationship at all. Although there are several factors that have caused Japanese people to turn away from sex and relationships, some blame can be attributed to the technologically advanced society that they live in. Instead of having casual flings that can lead to relationships young people have now turned to virtual relationships, online pornography, and even anime cartoons. In addition to the digital replacements for sex, most are utilizing recreational activities like clubbing, shopping, and traveling to take up their free time.
From a sociological perspective, the clear answer to this issue is to encourage people to have sex. This has been attempted by the Japanese government by implementing dating programs and stipend pay for women during maternity leave but nothing seems to be working. Japanese culture is shifting because women now have more opportunity and access to education and careers and are focused on financial success and freedom. Being in a relationship or married for women has traditionally been a sacrifice because of traditional matriarchal views. It is only natural for a women to be hesitant about entering a relationship because there is a possibility that she can get pregnant and have to put her life on hold to raise a child. I believe that once women are treated and paid equally in society that is when more women will be comfortable with putting their career on pause to raise a family.
October 24, 2013