“Similar to Japan” Japanese media focuses on Korea’s lowest birth rate ever

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Asahi, “Korea and Japan face common challenges… we can come up with wisdom”
Nikkei “The success or failure of Korea’s response can be used as a reference for Japan’s measures”
Sankei “Decreasing Korea’s military service population has a big impact on national defense issues”

As Korea’s birth rate last year hit an all-time and world low, major Japanese media outlets paid attention and reported on it on the 29th. Since Japan is also facing the same problem, cooperation between the two countries was expected.

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On the 29th, the Asahi Shimbun focused on the Korean birth rate by publishing an article on the first and third pages of its morning paper.

The newspaper said that there are various factors behind Korea’s low birth rate, including difficulties in raising children due to long working hours, unification of the Seoul metropolitan area, skyrocketing housing prices, and the academic society and passion for education. He attributed the burden of childcare, which is biased toward women, to be the cause, and interpreted it as “similar to Japan.”

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Asahi also specifically reported the case of a Korean woman who had raised a child in Korea. He also pointed out, “The Korean government has been focusing its efforts on low birth rate measures such as support for child care, but its cold views on encouraging childbirth among the younger generation are deeply rooted.”

Citing the economically unstable situation due to lack of jobs and the unequal society, a young Korean man said, “If they say I am a patriot when I have children, I don’t want to be a patriot.”

In particular, the newspaper pointed out that Japan’s birth rate is low and pointed out that “Korea and Japan are similar in that the birth rate rarely increases even if the government pursues measures.” “The circumstances that make people hesitate to have children, such as the fact that it is a difficult society to live in and the young generation’s anxiety about the future, also overlap with Japan,” he analyzed.

He pointed out, “Facing the background of low birth rates is an opportunity to question social reality, such as gender equality and whether individuals’ diverse lifestyles are respected.” Regarding how society will change and change, he said, “Korea and Japan, facing common challenges, have a lot of implications for each other and are capable of providing wisdom to each other,” and expressed hope that the two countries will cooperate to find solutions.

The Mainichi Shimbun published an article on Korea’s birth rate on page 2 that day. It was interpreted that “the number of people refraining from having children is increasing” due to fierce competition for universities and companies in Seoul, housing prices, late marriage and non-marriage, and increasing educational costs.

The Nippon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) noted that President Yoon Seok-yeol believes that there are problems with the Korean social structure and is taking steps to fundamentally reform it. He said that he was seeking short-term and long-term measures based on the response of past administrations.

Nikkei pointed out, “The success or failure of Korea, which is ahead of the curve in terms of the severity of the birth rate, can also serve as a reference for Japan’s measures to address low birth rates.”

The Sankei Shimbun said that an ultra-low birth rate that has never been seen before in the world is underway and analyzed, “As the confrontation with North Korea intensifies, the decline in the military service population will have a significant impact on national defense issues.”

Sankei explained, “With North Korea declaring its abandonment of its unification policy with South Korea and tensions rising, a review of its defense policy is inevitable if the low birth rate does not come to a halt in the future.”

The Tokyo Shimbun reported the birth rate article as “Korea in danger of extinction” and detailed the local situation. He pointed out the unification of Seoul, the crisis of one-quarter of local governments nationwide disappearing, and the anxiety of women living in rural areas.

The local public broadcaster NHK also detailed the causes and background of the decline in the birth rate, and noted that the ruling and opposition parties had pledged related measures ahead of the general election in April.

Source: Donga

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