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Abstract

Japan’s declining birth rate reached a record low in 2005 with a fertility rate of 1.26 births. This study explores the principal factors behind Japanese women’s waning desire to have children: the obligation of marriage; the impact of higher education on women; a grueling job market making conciliation of career and family extremely difficult. Based on interviews with Japanese women (with and without children), this research verified the influence of marriage, education and the job market on their child-bearing rate. Results indicate that the desire to have children does not seem to be an underlying factor in the birth rate. Many women felt that giving up on motherhood was not a choice but rather an inevitable outcome of the reality of life in Japan.


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