by Joan Williams
A recent article in Slate (based on an article in the Guardian) reports that many young Japanese have lost interest in sex. The Japan Family Planning Association found that 45 percent of women aged 16-24, and 25 percent of the men, “were not interested in or despised sexual contact.” A 2011 survey found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in a romantic relationship. A third of Japanese under 30, according to another study, have never dated at all.
What’s the turnoff? Traditional gender roles. “Japan’s punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family,” the Guardian journalist Abigail Haworth writes, “while children are unaffordable unless both parents work.” Nearly 70 percent of Japanese women quit their jobs after their first child, forced out by long hours and hostility toward working mothers, not-so-affectionately called oniyome (“devil wives”).