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Mikio Ikuma

Japan

Mikio Ikuma is the Deputy International Editor of Yomiuiri Shimbun in Japan. Close.

Mikio Ikuma

Japan

Mikio Ikuma is the Deputy International Editor of Yomiuiri Shimbun in Japan. more »

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French Kids Are Coming

The Anglo-Saxon market economy is widely regarded as superior to other economic models, including the French, in many ways. But the French system has succeeded in the single most important realm: producing future generations.

While Japan, Italy, Germany, South Korea, and Singapore – all considered more successful economies than France – struggle with dismal birth rates hovering at 1.2 - 1.3, France’s birth rate exceeded 2.0 last year. This feat may not be enough to keep the country at the highest level of population growth in the world. The country has indeed been slipping on that scale against worldwide tabulations. But, no other country destined to decline is so obsessed with producing as many kids as possible.

The current high birth rate compared to other European and East Asian nations is largely due to heavy spending by the French Government to encourage people to have families and children. French Parents can receive five to six times as much in federal funds as Japanese parents. It can be said that this family-oriented policy itself is the symbol of tax-and-spend European welfare states.

But not many countries are as determined as the French to keep their status in the world. For example, Japan’s politicians and bureaucrats recently complained that they can not adopt French-type family policies, saying that it would cost the taxpayers some ten trillion yen. In ten to fifteen years, the Japanese economy will be burdened with an imbalanced population, while France’s kids, equipped with higher education, may reverse their country’s fortune.

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