Weirdest notebook story of the week:
With Japan’s birth rate stuck in low gear, the Abe administration has come up with a new idea to make babies: convince the women to have a child earlier rather than later.
It plans to give out notebooks to all young women – and perhaps also to young men – to get that message across.
The notebooks, to be available from next April, will indicate the most appropriate timeframes for pregnancy and childbirth.
Japan’s low birth rate is said to be partly due to women opting for late marriage and delayed childbirth in recent years. In 2011, it stood at 1.39, far short of the 2.07 needed to stop the population from shrinking.
The “Women’s Notebook”, as it has been dubbed by the media, is the brainchild of a government task force which feels that young Japanese women need to be informed about the importance of not putting off childbirth.
Announcing the proposal earlier this month, Ms Masako Mori, the minister in charge of birth issues, said: “As (a woman) grows older, it becomes harder to become pregnant. The risk to mother and unborn child also increases. We must spread this knowledge among teenage girls and upwards to enable women to make choices and plan their lives.”
But the proposed notebook created an uproar among women, who saw it as the government attempting to blame only the female gender for the low birth rate. They also resented the government’s interference in their private lives.
Read more at Japanese women trash ‘notebook’ idea for having babies.