April 30, 2006

What? There Are Only 727 OB's In Japan?

I knew Japan had an alarmingly low birth rate, and that the kinds of gender inequities women face in the workplace, particularly after getting married and/or deciding to have children, are huge.

But apparently, they're also closing maternity wards and running out of obstetricians now, too. Erika Yamauchi lives in a 17,000-person fishing town. She'll have to be choppered to a neighboring island to deliver her baby:

Yamauchi, for instance, will have to leave her family behind on this island 375 miles southwest of Tokyo when she departs to deliver her second child. Her 26-year-old husband, Yuuhi, cannot get the time off from his job as a car salesman to accompany his wife. He anguishes about missing the birth, and perhaps going a week or more before getting a glimpse of his newborn. When Yamauchi leaves, she will also be kissing goodbye to Hinase, the couple's rambunctious 16-month-old toddler.
In Japan, New Pains Suffered At Childbirth [washpost]

1 Comment

I think that the other thing that needs underlining is the "Her 26-year-old husband, Yuuhi, cannot get the time off from his job as a car salesman to accompany his wife." People (not you, but lots of people) seem to not get that gender inequalities are a double edged sword, though clearly the one being choppered out is getting the stinky end of the stick in this case.

[nail, head. that's why I picked that quote. Later in the article, it turns out Yuuhi doesn't have any vacation days he can use to attend the birth of his child (?!?!). Never was clear who was going to be taking care of the 16-mo kid, either. Maybe they put him in a capsule hotel? I love it, but that country is seriously screwed. -ed.]

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