© Eric Rechsteiner

Sai Shrine, Ikijima, Nagasaki Prefecture

More than any other country in the world, Japan needs places like this shrine dedicated to fertility to help boost its birth rate that has been decreasing for nearly three decades. The events of 2020 did nothing to help matters. While the chaos associated with the coronavirus pandemic is causing unemployment to soar, the bleak economic outlook for working-age people raises fears that the already low birth rate may fall even further and worsen the country’s ageing crisis.

[SOCIETY] Age of sexual consent questioned

An organisation is currently campaigning to change the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16 years of age. Its objective is to convince the Ministry of Justice to alter the law of 1907, which sets the age of consent at 13, in order to bring it up to the same level as most other countries in the world. A petition with 40,000 signatures has been presented to the Justice Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko.

[HEALTH] Worrying return of syphilis

A major scourge in the aftermath of the Second World War, syphilis (baidoku in Japanese) had declined significantly in the country. But since 2010, there’s been a resurgence in the sexually transmitted disease. The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo reports that the number of syphilis cases in 2020 exceeded 5,000 for the fourth consecutive year.