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Commentary: Why Japanese Women Are Choosing Their Careers Over Having Sex - And Aren't That Bothered About It (full version)

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Why Japanese Women Are Choosing Their Careers Over Having Sex - And Aren't That Bothered About It - Huffington via BBC, The Guardian (October 22, 2013)

When you just gather the facts, you realize there is only one fact: birth rates are declining in Japan. This can be seen in the World Bank's latest World Development Indicator. According to this chart, "fertility rate" has been on a steady rise since 2005, but only reaching the level it was in 1998. 

Accrording to the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, the total fertility rate in 2012 marked a first positive growth in 16 years since 1996, while number of birth is still at a record low. 

The cause of declining birth rate can be attributed to various reasons, such as:

  1. couples who cannot make babies are increasing; 
  2. couples who do not make babies are increasing; or 
  3. couples who are just not having enough sex are increasing. 

Latest stats show the true cause

To figure our the fact from this you need a reliable survey, if not from the government. Then voila, there was such survey conducted this January by Japan's well-known condom maker, the Sagami Rubber Industries, called "Japan's Sex".

Huffington Post Japan featured a related article which summarizes another article by Asahi Shimbun. According to the article entitled "Almost 50% of couples feel there are 'sexless'; over 60% for men in 40-50s," in average men actually responded "want to have more sex" (75.2%) versus 35.8% for women

For those who answered they're having "less sex," an average of 40.3% of both men and women responded that their partner "does not get aroused enough". Interestingly, for married women in the ages 20-30s, their primary reasons for having "less sex" were "too busy with work and housework and are too tired" (over 35%) ,or "not enough chances to have it with family and children around" (over 25%).

So from these survey results, with logical reasoning you can attribute the direct cause of declining birth rate to (3) above, "couples who are just not having enough sex are increasing". For single couples being sexless, well that's another story because it does not directly correlate to declining birth rate. You need two to have sex and men are the not only ones to be blamed, as statistics above show.

However, it is also true that although Japanese women are becoming more and more sexually liberated and assertive, culture-wise they are not that aggressive about sex anyways. So men's aggressiveness is in question here and that's probably why the Otaku culture comes in to perspective in this BBC's report. But this report can be easily proven unreliable if statistics on Otaku population is taken (how, I don't know).

Are Otaku men really the issue?

And one more critical, yet generally derived thinking is that how could Otaku men be such an issue if their percentage in population is minor, and also, that they are oftentimes not attractive (at least sexually) for most women (not to stereotype that all Otakus are unattractive but)? What kind of loss would society incur for having an Otaku population choose virtual girlfriends over real sex?

This Huffington Post article covers one married individual who happens to be an Otaku who "paused to think" to choose between his flesh-and-blood wife and his cyber girlfriend, but he does not represent the whole of Japanese men or even Japanese Otaku men. The article fails to show that data.

So if these Otaku men are, in general, more single than married and more sexually unattractive than attractive to most women, they could never be a tangible cause of a declining birth rate even if they opt to have virtual girlfriends than to have real-life sex.

Let's set the priorities straight

The problem is in the married couple's sex in general. 
That's where the focus should be on. 

Then we can talk of declining marriage rate, and then about assertive women over 'vegetarian' men. Marriage issues first. Declining marriage rates next. Assertive women, a distant third, however the need for social safety nets also do present a policy challenge.

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