In Japan, the young population have lost interest in dating partners and sex lives, multiple recent surveys have shown, and the country is facing an impending population crisis as a result.
A recent government survey found that 69 percent of Japanese men and 59 percent of Japanese women do not have a romantic partner, and the birth rate has dropped to 8.4 births per 1000 inhabitants in the past decade, according to Independent magazine.
The population is predicted to drop to 87 million by 2060, a decrease of 40 million from the current population.
The celibacy trend has been observed for more than a decade, and survey after survey appears to confirm a national growing disinterest in sex and relationships. In 2012, 36 percent of teenage boys and 59 percent of teenage girls in Japan expressed no interest in sex, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Family Planning Association, a report from the Huffington Post said.
A survey of Japanese people 18 to 34, by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, found that 42 percent of men and 44.2 percent of women were still virgins, according to the Washington Post. Further, 70 percent of unmarried men and 60 percent of unmarried women were not in a romantic relationship, suggesting that the decrease in sexual activity and decrease in romantic activity are linked.
Pressure to succeed in their careers, particularly for women, has been implicated as a potential reason for the decrease in romantic and sexual activity.
“They want to tie the knot eventually. But they tend to put it off as they have gaps between their ideals and the reality,” said Futoshi Ishii, head researcher for the NIPSSR study, in an interview with the Japan Times. “That’s why people marry later or stay single for life, contributing to the nation’s low birthrate.”
Professor Masahiro Yamada of Chuo University said young people aren’t interested in untraditional relationships (only 2.2 percent of Japanese infants are born out of wedlock, the lowest rate in the world), and will instead put off engaging in relations until they think they can have a stable, traditional homelife, even if that isn’t anytime soon.
“Children are not likely to be born if men and women fail to bond in couples. Not just marriage but even the formation of couples has weakened in modern Japan,” Yamada said.
The problems and motivations also differ between men and women, he noted.
“For daughters in particular, the family home is a place where they can wait under their parents’ wing until an ideal marriage partner comes along. Instead of having to get hooked up with a man whose income is unstable, they can adopt a strategy of remaining at home in the expectation that sooner or later they will meet a man with sufficient income for a marriage partner,” Yamada said.
“This is probably one reason why young Japanese are not very sexually active. Of course, a certain percentage of the daughters eventually meet and marry men with good income prospects. But most daughters end up staying with their parents.”
On the other hand, sons are expected to seek better wages and a family. However, in recent years sons have preferred to stay home with their family, waiting for marriage, as well. “But this is not the way life ordinarily turns out. As a result, the number of sons who continue to live with parents is on the rise,” he said.
The Japanese government has, over the past several years, attempted everything from promoting a dating app to hosting speed dating events to spending millions on tax breaks for families in order to incentivize procreation, with little success, according to Vice. One proposal even included making businesses send employees home after 6 p.m. rather than working late.