Keith Wheeler’s Wheeler’s Wisdom | OPINION, July 17, 2017

AS CLICKBAIT goes, it was too much to resist, “Japan’s young people aren't having enough sex.” It was actually a cheap promo for The Morning Show. On screen was the sub-heading, “Not enough sex. Japan’s population plunges.”

Well, maybe cheap headlines are not confined to internet news sources. 

News Ltd tried, “In Japan, so few people are having sex the population is plunging.”

At the other end of the scale The Guardian began, “What happens to a country when its young people stop having sex? Japan is finding out …” The key photo was captioned, “Arm’s length: 45 per cent of Japanese women aged 16-24 are ‘not interested in or despise sexual contact’. More than a quarter of men feel the same way.”

These stories were actually about the declining birth rate in Japan, which is more than just sex.

One survey suggested young parent-aged Japanese had lost interest in marriage.

The Japan Times suggested they had lost interest in commitment.

Could porn be the cause? Japan is the fourth highest consumer of online porn (Iraq is the highest).

Sexually-explicit digital games, and “virtual reality girlfriends” are popular and occupy many Japanese young people who should be out socialising.

Japan does not have a migration program so it is entirely dependent on its birthrate. 

The Guardian added, “The number of single people has reached a record high. A survey in 2011 found that 61 per cent of unmarried men and 49 per cent of women were not in any kind of romantic relationship, a rise of almost 10 per cent from five years earlier. Another report found that 30 per cent had never dated at all. 

Does all of this matter?

Fewer babies were born in Japan in 2012 than in any year on record.

This was also the year that adult incontinence pants outsold baby nappies in Japan for the first time, indicating the real contrast between babies and old people.

Simply put, children have become economically unaffordable in Japan unless both parents work, discouraging marriage.

Japan’s crowded cities are breaking down the traditional extended-family model. It’s happening in Australian cities.

A Current Affair a week ago had a segment on a Sydney woman who has started a “Nonna” service for those whose jobs stop them being at home to look after the children.

The going rate is $35 an hour. The “Nonna” does the things Grandma would do in Wagga, including getting the dinner ready.

Our family grew up too far from grandparents.

When we had a family crisis with one child being rushed to hospital in Sydney we had to depend on relatives and friends.

Today our grandchildren can depend on us being there. It can be a real pleasure when a young one is delivered at 7am.

And real grandparents don’t charge $35 an hour!

In Sydney, it’s not only the lack of grandparents, it’s the sheer cost of buying the family home. Is it any wonder Australia is facing the same dilemma as Japan. Our population is only rising because of migration. 

As the SMH reported last year, Japanese workers may have to work until they are 80! Japan already has the highest proportion of working seniors among developed countries.

So Australia, get those young people married and on the job, unless you too want to work until you are 80!

KEITH WHEELER, www.dailyadvertiser.com.au