Avoiding Fertility Tests Is a Crime

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Japan's health minister says it's about time Tokyo did something about the country's Children-of-Men-like birthrates. His astute analysis of the baby shortage:

"The number of women between the ages of 15 and 50 is fixed. The number of birth-giving machines [and] devices is fixed, so all we can ask is that they do their best per head," Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa said in a speech Saturday, the Asahi and Mainichi newspapers reported.

The birth-giving machines of Japan are displeased, as well they should be, but the sentiment is perfectly consistent with the ideology behind birth-payment policies. If women don't want to be characterized as fetus producers by government officials, perhaps they should object when governments pay them to produce fetuses.

Headline explained here.

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  1. Birthgiving machines + Japan = Mechanical Tentacles

  2. I’ll volunteer to fertilize some of these birth-giving machines if Japan and/or machine volunteer to pay for raising new citizens.

    Send pics/stats and a round trip plane ticket.

  3. Perhaps if Japan didn’t attempt to exist in an immigration cocoon, the number of birth-giving machines wouldn’t be fixed.

  4. I don’t support the idea of paying people to have children. However, I am having a hard time coming up with good reasons for a successful young woman to so burden herself. What is the libertarian / min-archist / laissez-faire / objectivist / whatever reason to continue to populate the species?

  5. To have someone to take care of you when you’re old?

    Wait, no, that’s the government’s job…

  6. I also think that the young Japanese women may find Japanese men somewhat less than desirable–it’s still a culture (see the ‘birth machine’ comment) that devalues women as people and companions.

  7. Perhaps if Japan didn’t attempt to exist in an immigration cocoon, the number of birth-giving machines wouldn’t be fixed.

    Well, yeah, but then you might have foreign models performign their functions on Japanese soil. Can’t have that.

  8. Seriously. The life of a woman in Japan is so demeaned and less interesting than the life of a single woman that there really is no reason to jump into motherhood.

    The other issue here is that what many Japanese fear is immigration: Japan remains a very insular and racist culture, and the idea is pretty abhorrent to many there.

  9. What is the libertarian / min-archist / laissez-faire / objectivist / whatever reason to continue to populate the species?

    That people should be allowed to have kids if they want to.

  10. Well, the fact that “raising kids” is something that contributes to the “good of the community” as well rather than totally come back to the parent means that in a perfect libertarian society, people aren’t liable to have them.

    Think about it. It requires a heck of a lot of time, effort, and money. It’s difficult to find jobs that allow parenting as well as doing work (how many companies do you know that have day-care on site?), and all else equal, companies would undoubtedly prefer to not hire parents (more days away, sick care) and definitely don’t want to have to provide leave-of-absence, time-away-for-sick-kid, etc. We’ve already seen “the Mommy Track” vs. “standard track” in areas that demand long hours, with the resultant effect on one’s career.

    Looking at it logically, financially it is better to be childless and earn much more money, which can be used to hire caretakers, rather than depend on one’s children in one’s old age. Financially, given the amount necessary to raise children, they have a very bad ROI.

    Which is why a purely libertarian society would probably dwindle into non-existence within 80 years or so.

    In Japan, women are exercising their choice and voting with their feet. Having kids means usually losing one’s job and getting isolated in a small cramped apartment with nothing to do except take care of the kids and worry about finances since now the income coming into the family has dropped.

    Make it difficult enough, of course women are going to not want to have kids. No emotional support system, no financial support system, bored out of one’s skull, why bother?

    This is just the old geezer LDP huffing and puffing again. Japanese women will say “yeah, yeah”, shrug their shoulders, and ignore it, like usual.

  11. There is a word for a species whose “birth giving machines” refuse to perform that function: extinct.

    Looking at things from a strict standpoint of biology, a female mammal’s purpose is to produce offspring. That standpoint may be distasteful when applied to a sentient being (like a Japanese woman), but it does not make it less true.

    I do wonder though, given the vagaries of Japanese to English translations, if what the minister said was actually that cold sounding in Japanese.

    “A zygote is a gamete’s way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.”-Heinlein

  12. Japan has a thoroughly misogynist culture. It’s not just that women are under strong social compulsion to quit work when they get married or have children, it’s that once they have children, they’re essentially single parents. Pop stays at work all day, then goes out and drinks at a strip joint at night, and never so much as nods in the direction of a soiled diaper or dirty dish. Spain, Italy, Russia, and, of all places, Iran face the same problem. Industrialism demands educate women to produce an educated work force, but once we learn to read, the idea of being an lonely ignored domestic drudge loses its appeal rapidly. (Let me be clear; “domestic drudge” is not a synonym for “stay at home Mom.” I’m referring to the custom in some countries of men having social lives nearly completely separate from their mistreated wives.) If Japan wants more little Japanese, then its men will have to learn how to wash dishes.

    Oh, and I agree with Grumpy Realist that having kids does impose a cost on parents. At my last job, I won the largest case the agency had ever had, only to have all my good cases transferred when I went on maternity leave the next year. I don’t think my boss ever forgave me for having Aaron, and my story is far from unique. She’s one huge reason I’m not at that job anymore.

  13. Perhaps Japan can lead the world in learning how to deal with a stable or declining population and an aging demographic. It might not be such a bad thing – Japan is arguably overpopulated already, and anyway you can’t keep increasing the population indefinitely.

    In any case, immigration is not the answer, as Japanese society seems incapable of handling substantial number of immigrants.

  14. Well, the fact that “raising kids” is something that contributes to the “good of the community” as well rather than totally come back to the parent means that in a perfect libertarian society, people aren’t liable to have them.

    Yeah…because people have kids for the “good of the community” and get nothing out of doing so.

    You’re a funny man, grump.

  15. So instead of asking women why they don’t want kids, and then perhaps addressing those issues, the Japanese decide that simply trying to guilt-trip the childless women is the way to solve the problem.

    Idiots.

  16. What is the libertarian / min-archist / laissez-faire / objectivist / whatever reason to continue to populate the species?

    I’d say the whatever reason is that ultimately (and biologically) it’s the purpose of fucking. Which of course shows why the govt fucking the people is so pointless (in answer to the libertarian/etc. reasons).

  17. I’ve been living in Japan for a few years, and I can assure you that women OWN this country. Sure, many men don’t lift a finger around the house, but it’s mainly because they work in dreary jobs all day with crazy overtime. My girlfriend’s father leaves the house at 7 am and comes home at 10 pm, and none of that time involves “strip clubs” or any of that nonsense. No one expects him to do anything at home because of of this.

    The old stereotypes of Japan having men in charge is very antiquated. Women spend their days shopping, having coffee with friends, and taking some kind of lesson (English, kimono, tea ceremony, caligraphy, etc). I feel nothing but pity for salarymen, who only act like their in charge.

    Also, keep in mind, Japanese men have no money of their own either. The women control every last yen, and the men get allowances like children.

    As for the brith rate….good! They managed to do naturally waht China has tried to do for years with guns. Having childbirth not covered by the National insurance plan doesn’t help either.

  18. Which is why a purely libertarian society would probably dwindle into non-existence within 80 years or so.

    Jesus, this is a pretty ignorant stretch. Employers do all kinds of crap that isn’t ‘directly’ positive for the bottom line; like paying their employees to begin with. Or providing paid vacation, or year end bonuses, and on. Of course, it really is in the employers interest to offer these kinds of perks to draw the best talent. If skilled folks want to have kids then employers will compensate. Maybe this isn’t your experience, but that likely has more to do with a dearth of marketable skills.

    Anyway, in line with your “good for society” delusion, perhaps we only want those folks with such desirable skills that employers are willing to compensate procreating. You know, bright people having bright kids for the benefit of all.

  19. Grumpy Realist: “companies would undoubtedly prefer to not hire parents”

    Isn’t there some evidence that married family men are considerably better employees than unstable single geeks like myself? Something to do with showing up in the morning every day? Maybe they need a consistent job more, so don’t quit on a whim or act in ways that would get them fired?

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