The good life for dogs in Japan

Listening en inglés. Japan’s pampered dogs and population decline.

    Dogs in a buggy                    Dog wearing a pullover             Clothes for dogs                        

In English we can say “It’s a dog’s life” when we want to say that life is hard or unpleasant. In Japan and especially on Tokyo the life of a dog is completely opposite to the original meaning of this English expression. There a dog’s life is very good indeed. In fact, Japan has some of the world's most pampered dogs and it appears that dogs are beginning to replace children in homes.

Many people spend large amounts of money on their dogs and designer labels such as Chanel, Dior, Hermès and Gucci now offer luxury products for dogs. Designer labels are not cheap. A poodle pullover can cost over $250.

And in some parts of Tokyo, it is easier to buy clothes for dogs than for children. Dog boutiques sell everything from little frocks to designer jeans, from nappies to organic dog snacks and even buggies to transport your dog in.

In general, people in Tokyo prefer small or even miniature dog breeds because the majority of people live in small  apartments.

But as the dog population is increasing the human population fell by a record number last year. The fertility rate in Japan is now 1.39 children per woman, which is below the level needed to maintain the population. Government projections suggest that if the current rate continues, today's population of 128 million will fall to 43 million over the next century.

It seems that many Japanese women prefer a dog to parenthood. Dr Kitamara says personal relationships are in decline. His data from 2010 show that sixty percent of women in their mid- to late 20s are single, and 70% of unmarried women do not have a boyfriend.

So far everything the Japanese Government has tried,  from introducing maternity leave, increasing financial help for couples with children to providing nursery places, have all failed to stop the county’s demographic decline.

pampered (verbo: pamper) = mimar

pullover  = jersey

frocks = una falda ligera

jeans = vaqueros

nappies = pañales

buggies = cochecito

dog breeds = razas de perros

nursery places = kindergarden

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