Almost half of single young Japanese are virgins: Poll

A couple walks through a street in the Yokohama China Town area of Yokohama, Japan, on Feb 9, 2016.
A couple walks through a street in the Yokohama China Town area of Yokohama, Japan, on Feb 9, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO • The statistics do not augur well for Japan's ageing population: A survey of young Japanese aged 18 to 34 has found that almost 70 per cent of unmarried men and 60 per cent of unmarried women are not in a relationship.

And around 42 per cent of the men and 44.2 per cent of the women admit they are virgins, The Japan Times reported yesterday .

The study, released on Thursday, shows a particularly sharp increase of singles for people in their late 20s, compared with the previous study in 2010.

In the 2010 edition, the proportion of unmarried men and women who said they had no partner stood at 48.6 per cent and 39.5 per cent, respectively, reported The Japan Times.

The latest survey also shows that the sexes are growing apart. There are now many more virgins than in 2010, when only 36.2 per cent of men and 38.7 per cent of women said they had never had sex.

And while nearly 90 per cent of the respondents want to get married "some time in the future", 30 per cent of the men sampled and 26 per cent of the female respondents say they are not currently looking for a relationship.

"They want to tie the knot eventually. But they tend to put it off as they have gaps between their ideals and the reality," Mr Futoshi Ishii, head of the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research's population dynamics research department, was cited by the Japan Times as saying. "That's why people marry later or stay single for life, contributing to the nation's low birthrate."

The institute has conducted the same survey every five years since 1987. The latest was done in June last year and covered 8,754 single people and 6,598 married couples across the country.

Boosting the birthrate is one of the goals of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration, which has declared it will raise the fertility rate from the current 1.4 to 1.8 by 2025, The Japan Times noted. The government hopes to achieve this by making it easier for families to raise children, such as by increasing the places available at nursery schools.

The survey suggests it may also have to find a way to play Cupid, the report said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'Almost half of single young Japanese are virgins: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe