By Jonathan Soble, NY Times January 1, 2015
"These days, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been encouraging Japanese women to have it all. A rewarding career. Children, preferably more than one.
In a country where juggling work and family has long been especially difficult, Mr. Abe has pledged to ease the way for women like Ms. Kitajima, with more state-funded child care and other measures to foster “a society where all women shine.” Tackling the nation’s shrinking population and declining labor force by encouraging working women is part of his broader effort to re-energize the economy, which is looking especially unsteady after Japan unexpectedly fell into a recession last quarter." ---
"The United States and Europe face similar challenges. National policies have largely failed to address pay inequalities or create broad support systems for working mothers.
But the gender gap in Japan is more pronounced. The national birthrate is just 1.4 children per woman, among the lowest in the world and well below the level needed to ward off a sharp decline in population in the coming decades. And when Japanese women do have children, they quit their jobs more often than mothers in other industrialized countries, leaving a hole in an already dwindling work force."