Until early 2000, publicly funded social care wasn’t popular in Japan, caring for the elderly was considered a family responsibility, which in some cases ended in neglect and abuse towards the older people being looked after, after a few surveys but the Japanese Government, 30% of the carers felt “hatred” towards the person they were taking care of. Which is why married and unmarried women are bound to this and house work, the basic problem lies in the traditional attitudes of a male-dominated society. Which means Japan’s increase in infertility and ageing population has produced a “top-heavy society”, that the countries government is struggling to support financially.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is encouraging local business firms to employ more women into their workforce and promote them to senior positions, but he has had only limited success so far.
Stephen Mulrenan (2016), a freelance journalist based in Hong Kong says:
“Japanese society remains very traditional, with a woman’s primary role defined as ryosaikenbo, or ‘good wife, wise mother’. Because of this, there is little encouragement for women to remain in work after having children. For those that do, they find that ryosaikenbo and Japan’s rigid work schedules do not easily co-exist. There is also the risk that women will find themselves being ‘career tracked’ onto the so-called ‘office lady’ route following an engagement to be married.”
True to his word, Shinzo Abe has appointed key symbolic females to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) when he assumed power for a second time in December 2012 (he previously served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007). He has also launched missions for several government ministries aimed at raising the profile and status of women from a house wife or carer to a bread earner. Because of this the Prime Minister sees a chance of economic revival which can further supply the elderly community, and also reduce the population to come, because of the inadequate of childcare and flexible working presents a hurdle for women in Japan.
But unfortunately this is inadequate to solve the aging population issue in Japan, further more, the decline of the Japanese youth plan on pursuing their lives with high schools, universities and industry and commerce, this also means that it will be more difficult to fund pensions for the elderly and to find careers for them.
Shinzo Abe has talked about increase use of robots but the general public of Japan presently can’t afford it right now.