Want to know why Japan is concerned about the libidos of its younger generation?
The under 30s in Japan are being accused of not having enough sex as a way to explain the country’s rapidly shrinking population. Already fallen by 1.5 million in the last decade, predictions on the nations coupling, birth rates and aging population suggest that this could decline by a further 30% in the next forty years. So, what’s going on? Is the land of the rising sun turning its back on sex?
In this guide, we take a look at the stats of Japan’s declining population and low birth rates and some of the causes for this including economic instability and a thriving and diverse alternative sex scene.
What’s The Problem? A Look at the Stats
Japan: Falling Population
The population in Japan has fallen by 1.211% over the last decade (or 1,557,031 people) with an increase in this decline being noted at a steadily rising rate:
According to predictions made in 2016 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, Statistics Bureau, this decline could mean that Japan’s population falls to 90 million by the year 2060 – a decline of almost 30% on the current figures!
Japan: Declining Fertility Rates
The fertility rate in Japan is one of the lowest in the world and, out of 200 countries where data has been published for 2018, the county ranks at 179th with a rate of just 1.478 children per woman. The lowest country, Taiwan, has a rate of 1.218 children per woman and the highest is Niger with a rate of 7.153 children per woman.
So, what’s the reason behind all of these statistics?
Japan’s Celibacy Syndrome
According to a study published in the Japan Times in 2016, 70% of unmarried men and 60% of unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 34 were not in a relationship. Though the figures are high, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this indicates they aren’t just having casual sex instead…until you consider the fact that the same survey revealed 42% of the same group of men and 44.2% of women were virgins. This rate has risen since 2010 when the same criteria resulted in rates of 36.2% and 38.7% respectively.
A global study of sexual behaviors was published by Durex in 2006 which showed the average age of first sex in Japan was 17.2 (lower than the average of 17.3). So, what has happened in just ten years?
Some people suggest that it is merely a global phenomenon where singles are waiting longer to get involved in serious relationships, focusing on their careers instead.
However, Japan’s strong culture of family is still evident and almost 90% of respondents in the survey conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research reported that they did want to get married.
Just Too Busy for Sex?
The culture in Japan is one that still places an enormous emphasis on the men being the earners in a relationship. Around 70% of women who get pregnant will not return to work immediately and will therefore rely on their partner’s salary to get by.
This places a huge responsibility on men to have regular jobs in order to be considered ‘desirable’ for marriage.
Once considered a country where employees could bank on a ‘job for life’, regular work is becoming hard to find in Japan. In fact, the rise of irregular jobs now accounts for around 40% of the nation’s workforce, according to the Labor Ministry.
This decline in job stability could account for the fact that more and more young Japanese men and women are spending longer at the office and less time on dates. According to a report by CNBC nearly 25% of Japanese businesses require their employees to work more than 80 hours a week in overtime. Often unpaid, this is in addition to their 40-hour working week. Those workers that don’t do this simply have less career opportunities and ultimately don’t to rise up the corporate ladder.
Diverse Sex Industry
According to some reports, millions of young Japanese people are content to masturbate or use alternatives to a relationship in order to satisfy the lack of intimacy in a relationship and the country’s booming sex industry could be to blame.
From fetish clubs to hostess bars, KTVs to drop in blowjob salons and a ready supply of sex robots, love dolls and creative masturbation aids, singles in Japan can easily and efficiently scratch that itch without having to turn to the time-intensive demands of a relationship.
Add to this the culture in some Japanese businesses to host meetings in massage parlors or soapy salons and you can quickly see how it is easier to spend more time with a prostitute than with a girlfriend.
Sex is so widely available in Japan and is such a hugely accepted part of the cultural entertainment scene that there is little or no incentive for young people to get involved in relationships.
Too Scared of Real Relationships?
The other side of this coin is that men and women who are abstaining from relationships for longer find it even harder to start and sustain one when they do.
Porn, hentai, robots and professional sex services have given them an expectation of how to behave and what to expect from the opposite sex and real-life either doesn’t measure up or can be considered a little too ‘scary’.
Weened on a diet of exceptionally good-looking virtual girls (and guys) or experienced sex professionals, all of whom will do exactly what you want them to do, the alternative of compromising is far less appealing.
What is the Japanese Government Doing?
Faced with such a sharp decline in its population, it is not surprising that the government is keen to reverse this trend.
As well as introducing the Work Style Reform Law in 2018 which restricts the amount of overtime that is expected from employees, the government is also introducing ways to ease the economic cost of raising a child.
Some initiatives are more traditional such as offering more places in nursery schools and improving the facilities and housing for families with children. However, one of the more creative approaches has been with plans to boost the number of people dating via the introduction of government-backed speed dating schemes.
Whether such measures will help prevent, what some people are calling, a demographic time bomb, is yet to be seen but the fact remains that Japan, for all its reputation as being a country that has preoccupation with sex, simply isn’t having enough of it.
Featured image via MaxPixel.
Interested in More of Asia's Hidden X-Rated Secrets?
We have published 14 country profiles, 18 local city guides, and hundreds of hours of research for your reading leisure. It's all 100% free. Get started with our quick links below...