• Sally Herships

Japan's population is plunging, so where are the babies?


If you think you work long hours, meet Kumi Matsumoto.

“It’s very normal for us to stay until midnight,” said Matsumoto, who works for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “and sometimes we have to stay until early in the morning, [the] next day.” Matsumoto lives in Tokyo. She’s 41, and when we met she was on maternity leave. But when she’s in the office she often doesn’t get her assignments until late at night. She says the hours can be brutal – especially for women with kids. “Some ask their mother for everything about their family. One of them, I know, met her child only on weekends,” she said.

Matsumoto acknowledges that this was an extreme case, but because of the long hours Japanese workers are expected to put in, working mothers here have to ask for a ton of help. Much more than a typical American parent. “Mothers, babysitters, nursery schools,” she said, “and somehow manage to do it. But I know many women couldn’t do that much and just quit.” Read the full story here.

#Japan #Culture #Workplace