Shrinking Population - How Japan Fell Out Of Love With Love


2016091920170313 (R4)"Tulip Mazumdar explores how young people's rejection of intimacy and their embracing of singledom has left Japan's authorities struggling to tackle rapid population decline.

Traditionally, the working husband and the stay-at-home housewife defined a Japanese family. Now, with society changing, young people are choosing independence over 'troublesome' relationships. The result is an uncontrolled decline in population, where a decreasing birth rate and rapidly aging population paints a bleak outlook for Japan's future.

Tulip meets the eligible men and women who are choosing careers, fun and freedom over, marriage, boyfriends or girlfriends. Such is their determination to be independent, few want or have time for partners - let alone indulging in sexual relations. For those who are lonely or in need of a human connection, relationship substitutes fill a void. Theirs is a life unfamiliar to the nation's parents and grandparents.

With a generation almost refusing to procreate, the Japanese government faces something of a crisis. Tulip meets with officials to hear of the actions they're taking to arrest the decline in population including, remarkably, the funding of speed dating events.

With women taking up fresh work opportunities and grasping hold of new equalities, can government intervention defuse the demographic time bomb?

A Like It Is Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Tulip Mazumdar finds young people in Japan rejecting intimacy and a population in decline.