22 June 2016
The proportion of Japanese men in their 20s who want to marry has slumped.
Many of the eligible bachelors are citing their income not meeting women’s expectations as a reason not to tie the knot.
According to a think-tank research, there is a dip rate for women as well and it is still being relatively rare for children to be born out of wedlock in Japan.
The figures pointed to a potential obstacle for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s key policy of boosting the nation’s low birth rate.
The survey showed that 38.7 per cent of single Japanese men in their 20s who were polled said they wanted to marry as soon as possible or wanted to marry eventually, down from 67.1 per cent three years ago.
“More than half of single women want their spouses to earn at least four million yen (38,000 dollars) a year.
“Meanwhile, only 15.2 per cent of single men in their 20s earn four million yen or more,” the report for a Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance affiliate said.
“This gap seems to be one of the reasons for more people not marrying at all or marrying late.’’
The data comes as Abe campaigns for an election for the upper house on July 10, playing up his economic policy and promising steps to raise the fertility rate.
Abe’s government wants to raise the birth rate to 1.8 per woman from 1.4, which was still below 2.1 the rate needed to prevent a population from shrinking.
For single women in their 20s, the rate fell to 59 per cent from 82.2 per cent over the same period, the survey said.
The rates of single Japanese men and women in their 30s who want to marry also fell by more than 10 per cent points to 40.3 percent and 45.7 percent respectively, the data showed.
Japan’s population is projected to fall around a third to 87 million in 2060, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research said.
The pension system was creaking under the growing number of elderly and the low birth rate, as smaller working population needed to shoulder a growing number of retirees.
Some economists had applauded Abe for putting birth rates on the agenda.
Others warned the government had fallen so far behind on the population issue that it would be difficult to raise economic growth without opening up to large-scale immigration.