The Technological Utopia: Mimamori Care and Family Separation in Japan

In: Asiascape: Digital Asia
Anoma P. van der Veere LeidenAsiaCentre the Netherlands Osaka University Japan 〒560-0043 Ōsaka-fu Toyonaka-shi Machikaneyama-chō 1-31

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Japan is undergoing a significant demographic upheaval, and the Japanese government is formulating policies for stimulating technological advances based on the assumption that they will solve issues such as labour shortages and elder care. The government argues through policy initiatives that technology will decrease the care burden on Japan’s workers, families, and itself. Although the domestic media show awareness of changing family patterns in Japan, newspapers are following a similar pattern of technological utopianism. However, this article posits that the proposed policy reforms rely on a conservative ideal of the extended family that ignores changing patterns in Japanese households. Moreover, it argues that, rather than facilitating a return to the ideal of an extended family, technology is exacerbating separation among families that have been growing apart for some time.

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