Although the birthrate greatly declined from the 1960s to the mid-1970s amongst many developed countries, the downturn has steadily been reversed by promoting women’s rights and reviewing family policies in some European countries such as Sweden and France. The current total fertility rate in Sweden or France is approximately around 1.9 children per woman. The favorable state can be partly explained by the active family policies of these countries. The government of Sweden has implemented a wide range of measures including tax allowances, childcare services, and other subsidies, as well as an18 month parental leave to be shared between mothers and fathers. The government of France has expanded childcare and provided incentives by increasing childcare/family benefits with each subsequent child.
In Japan, the fertility rate has changed from a downward trend to an upward trend, but only very slightly over the last decade. The legislative systems and enforcement remain totally inadequate to maintain stable a fertility rate. The Japanese government should try to change the social security/labor policies into more active and generous ones, with enhancement of economic support and promotion of work-life balance. Other attempts including removing barriers to encourage the youth to start a family are needed to overcome declining birth rates in Japan.