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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 July 8 - 14  >  ‘Economic conscription’ could become reality in Japan
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2015 July 8 - 14 [POLITICS]

‘Economic conscription’ could become reality in Japan

July 14, 2015
Akahata ‘current’ column

The national government claims that it is taking countermeasures to address the falling birthrate. However, women workers, once they get pregnant, are often denigrated and insulted at their workplaces. What is more, many of them have difficulty finding a public childcare facility accepting their children before their maternity leave expires. “I feel as if I am to be blamed for having a baby.” This is what many female workers struggling to find a children’s daycare center are made to feel.

Unstable employment contracts, low wages, and long working hours have been prevalent in Japan. The environment surrounding childrearing workers has long been hostile.

The number of newborns last year hit a record-low of one million, about half the number just 40 years ago. Some politicians during Diet deliberations on the “security” legislation asked the government how it would secure a sufficient number of Self-Defense Forces personnel in the future with the declining birthrate.

It will be necessary to recruit one in 30 newborns into the SDF 25 years from now in order to maintain its present strength, according to these Dietmembers. They suggested that the government consider expanding SDF scholarship programs.

They called for a loan-based program for university age students who are willing to enlist in the SDF. Under this program, graduates will be exempt from repayment of student loans if they serve in the SDF within a certain period of time after graduation.

Already in the United States, it is said that military recruiters persuade young persons from low-income families to enroll in the armed forces by offering scholarships and financial rewards before sending them to places like Iraq.

Using this method of attracting needy young people with “stable jobs” and “grants”, Japan may also have them volunteer for the SDF. The so-called “economic conscription” strategy could be used in Japan.

Past related articles:
> Draft system may follow war legislation [June 22, 2015]
> SDF desperately trying to recruit high school students [December 23, 2014]
> Gov’t eager to dismiss public fears of possible introduction of military draft [July 12, 2014]
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