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Japan bets on - gasp - women??

So things are getting desperate in Japan. All those years of recession have resulted in deep cuts in the available workforce just as it’s roaring economy is expanding demand. So what are the second-order effects likely to be? One is to enhance legal immigration. Japanese officials are really wierd about this. For instance, entertaining a huge debate about 100 visas for Filipino nurses, while permitting without question 98,000 so called entertainment vias for Asian women (many of whom work in the sex trade) (Business Week – Nov 7, 2005, p. 55)But perhaps the biggest opportunity for women (and for Japan) will be to get more women into the workforce. At the moment, when you get married, your career in Japan is just about over in many companies, leading many of Japan’s brightest women to politely decline the whole marriage concept, leading to fewer families being formed, fewer births, and a vicious cycle of population decline. Japan’s women work at a far lower rate than those in say the US. 55% in Japan work at some kind of job while 62% do so in the US. And once they are working, who knows what other changes they might stir up? You might even get women enthusiastic about starting families again.

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