Fewer Japanese seek marriage amid worries over income: poll

Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:45am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - The proportion of Japanese men in their 20s who want to marry has slumped, with many citing their income not meeting women's expectations as a reason not to tie the knot, think tank research showed.

With a dip in the rate for women as well and it still being relatively rare for children to be born out of wedlock in Japan, the figures point to a potential obstacle for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's key policy of boosting the nation's low birth rate.

The survey showed 38.7 percent of single Japanese men in their 20s who were polled said they wanted to marry as soon as possible or wanted to marry eventually, down from 67.1 percent three years ago.

"More than half of single women want their spouses to earn at least 4 million yen ($38,000) a year. Meanwhile, only 15.2 percent of single men in their 20s earn 4 million yen or more," the report for a Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance affiliate said.

"This gap seems to be one of the reasons for more people not marrying at all or marrying late."

The data comes as Abe campaigns for an election for the upper house on July 10, playing up his economic policy and promising steps to raise the fertility rate.

Abe's government wants to raise the birth rate to 1.8 per woman from 1.4, which is still below 2.1 - the rate needed to prevent a population from shrinking.

For single women in their 20s, the rate fell to 59 percent from 82.2 percent over the same period, the survey said.

The rates of single Japanese men and women in their 30s who want to marry also fell by more than 10 percentage points to 40.3 percent and 45.7 percent, respectively, the data showed.   Continued...

A couple walk in the garden of the Hikawa shrine during their traditional Shinto wedding ceremony in Tokyo December 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter