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now the number of children in japan is



at its lowest since 1950 figures



released by the internal affairs



ministry says there are just over 14.6



million children in the country under



the age of 14. japan's falling birth



rate and high life expectancy replacing



huge pressures on public spending and



resulting in labour shortages



our global population correspondent



stephanie hegerty has been looking into



the story



this is part of a global trend that



we're seeing in all advanced economies



and a lot of developing economies too



and and it's dating back to after the



war as more women enter the workforce



they decide to delay having children and



they have less children as a result



because the window of opportunity for



having children is shorter but what



we're seeing in japan



is that this is accelerated i mean the



japanese government didn't expect to be



seeing these numbers until about 2028 so



it's accelerating quite rapidly and



that's for various reasons what happens



globally is when we have shocks



especially financial shocks that leads



people to



take a step back and decide maybe it's



not the time to have a child now and we



saw that in the 2008 crash saw that in



the late 90s in asia and we saw it



during the pandemic



so these these patterns are definitely



accelerating and what tends to happen



what happened after 2008 is people don't



uh



they don't go backwards you know once



society decides to have less children



they don't tend to then go back to



having more later i mean over the years



i i sort of can't um forget images i'd



seen of children



sitting at their mother's desks under



under the desk in the workplace in japan



because things like child care are not



necessarily readily available the whole



structure and system of the workplace



isn't necessarily tailored for a woman



to be able to have those support



networks i think there's two dynamics



that are playing out not just in japan



but in their neighbors china and south



korea where you've got these very



advanced economies with a lot of women



in work japan's got one of the highest



ratios of women in the workplace higher



than the us for example but it's also



got really profound gender imbalances in



domestic work so the amount of time on



average the japanese man father spends



doing work at home is 41 minutes a day



compared to the us which is two and a



half hours a day so this profound gender



imbalance seems to be leading a lot of



japanese women to say i don't want that



life i don't want to have to do



everything at home and i don't want to



have to work very hard and then you've



also got this notorious work culture



where people are expected to really put



in the hours and that's just not



compatible with family life



that's our correspondent stephanie



hegerty reporting there well that's it



from me and the team here on impact you



can catch me on twitter i'm at bbc yalda



hakim goodbye for now