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the period December 28, 2000 through December 31, 2000.
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Thursday, December 28, 2000
More premarital sex in Japan leads to more
A story published today in the Australian reports that almost
one in five marriages in Japan now involves a pregnant bride, compared with one in
10 in 1977.
Few Japanese couples choose to have a child out of wedlock because of the nation's strict
family register system, which can taint the child in the eyes of future employers.
The destigmatisation of pregnancy in brides is contributing to the decline in Japan's
abortion rate. Health and Welfare Ministry statistics show there were about 340,000
terminations in Japan last year about 28 abortions per 100 births, as against 38
per 100 between 1970 and 1990.
People are getting married older in Japan, and some sociologists suggest couples use
pregnancy as a prod to walk up the aisle.
"There are those who don't use contraceptives because they are not averse to having
children, and use pregnancy as a push toward marriage," sociology professor Masahiro
Yamada told the Asahi News.
"I think such marriages will increase in the future."
The embarrassment factor in being a child of unmarried parents seems to have all but
disappeared in many Western nations, but in Japan there are real consequences for such
The family register is a record to which Japanese play particular attention, and the place
of your birth and whose family you are born into is hugely important. Employers and
families of potential marriage partners often check the register before accepting an
applicant or new family member, and the lack of clear details on birth can lead to
problems for a child later in life.
This is why couples are more likely to marry if the woman becomes pregnant rather than
have the child out of wedlock, said Junko Kuninobu, of Aichi Shukutoku University.