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Perfectly JapaneseMaking Families in an Era of Upheaval$
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Merry Isaacs White

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520217546

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520217546.001.0001

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Why Families Are a National Security Issue

Why Families Are a National Security Issue

(p.19) Chapter 1 Why Families Are a National Security Issue
Perfectly Japanese

Merry Isaacs White

University of California Press

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

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