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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HAVE YOUR SAY

Women, know your place: some readers' responses

Following are readers' responses to Kris Kosaka's March 31 Zeit Gist article, "Women, know your place":

Japan's lost decades

Japanese officials and the people as a whole worry about the future of this nation because they are denying that future every day — the women.

I have to agree that Japan has a huge population of overqualified housewives. The women in Japan need to stand up and really put forward what they know. It's a shame that the women in the article sacrificed such careers for subservient home duties.

I'm not saying that women shouldn't take care of their homes, but they shouldn't have had to give up their prosperous and joyous careers to do so.

Husbands need to stand up and take back their family time. The company isn't everything. Marriages and families are partnerships, after all, aren't they?

Some say the "lost decade" refers to the time after the economic bubble burst, but I say Japan has had many lost decades during which scores of women gave up dreams and ambitions that could have made Japan a more stable and strong nation.

A very enlightening read. I hope people get it. In a word: revolution.

WAYNE MALCOLM

Akita City

Problem lies with women

The real problem lies with the Japanese women themselves. When they become overqualified, earn good salaries, possess strong personalities and hold high-level positions, it becomes very difficult to have sex with them, even if the woman concerned is your legal wife. The result is all this is a big zero, and that is why the Japanese birthrate is falling at an alarming rate.

To address this serious issue and solve the present demographic dilemma, the concerned authorities should take measures to encourage younger generations to have sex, as well as build confidence among the younger, modern generation that shirks its responsibilities and seems to value entertainment above everything else.

For instance, I have a young Japanese friend who is ready to get married but is afraid of getting into serious affairs as he thinks girls don't like him, because he doesn't like to talk much and may appear aloof. For those like him with insecure personalities, I think the old Japanese tradition of arranged marriages could be the solution.

MUTAZ REHMAN

Muscat, Oman

Who took us out of caves?

Great (not good) points! I am a 34-year-old, highly educated (a graduate of law school) Western woman.

Whenever my girlfriends and I talk about our role in the 21st century, we always ended up joking (although there's a bit of truth to it): "Who the heck took us out of the caves?"

Nobody told us it was gonna be this difficult!

GABRIELA NAGAYOSHI

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Questions needs answering

Before Kris Kosaka paints broad strokes in depicting the life of the average Japanese, she'd better answer a few pertinent questions:

How many Japanese women, married or not, have glamorous backgrounds like her select group of friends? How many Japanese women are actually married? How many of them are actually married to men with full-time company jobs? How many Japanese women are pursuing such glamorous careers while married? How many are divorced? Are marriage and career mutually exclusive?

I would suspect that her Japanese sources were not selected at random, and so my response to her article can only be, "So what?"

JOHN BOCKMAN

Tokyo

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