Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Asian Studies


Language/Literature /Culture


Shigeru Osuke,Ed.D

Committee Member

Edwin Pak Leung, Ph.D

Committee Member

Christopher Young, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dong Dong Chen, Ph.D


Fertility rate, Japan, Italy, Norway, Maternity leave, Feminism


In recent years, much has been made of the looming demographic crisis that is forming in Japan. The declining birthrate and graying of the population has made many government officials, sociologists, and scholars very anxious about what will happen when a nation begins to shrink. These same officials and scholars are also looking for a reason for the decline, and many have placed the blame on Japanese women without examining the reasons these women have for having fewer children or forgoing motherhood altogether. But Japan is not the only nation suffering from population decline. Other smaller, industrialized nations also face the same challenge- some better than others. This paper will examine the reproductive climates of Japan, Norway, and Italy as a way to understand the social, economic, and practical reasons women in Japan decline to have children, and to create a holistic, broad based policy aimed at making the reproductive climate of a nation more appealing to women. By establishing the paradigm of the reproductive climate, this paper hopes to move the discussion of fertility from one that places the primary burden on women to one in which all facets of society are considered when discussing the problem of declining world fertility.