Japan Diaper Shortage: The Bizarre Explanation

    April 1, 2014
    Toni Matthews-El
    Comments are off for this post.

The words “diaper shortage” may lead some to scratch their heads when paired with Japan. After all, Japan’s low birthrates are practically notorious at this point.

It’s well understood that the current generation is hardly concerned with keeping the population growing.

Is the report of a diaper shortage due to a sudden baby boom that no one saw coming? No, not at all.

The diaper shortage can be blamed on two seemingly unrelated factors: A sales tax hike…and China.

The Japanese sales tax climbed from five percent to eight percent as the adjustment went into effect today. Japanese consumers had gone on a major spending spree ahead of the tax hike. Demand was high for items ranging from cigarettes to luxury cars.

Buyers were eager to get their hands on products that were a few days away from becoming more expensive.

Such a surge in sales occurred the last time Japan raised its sales tax. The difference is that once the fervor halted in 1997, the urge to spend went with it.

Analysts are looking to determine whether or not history will repeat itself.

Where do Japanese diapers fit into this examination? It turns out that the mad dash for the infant necessity wasn’t made by native Japanese citizens, but by consumers from China.

The quality of Japan-made goods has made a strong impression on affluent Chinese shoppers. With the new sales tax firmly in place, it’s possible that the Japanese economy may find a greater deal of support from abroad than what occurred nearly two decades ago.

Having consumers from outside the country could soften the economic blow of Japanese shoppers closing their wallets. It could also go a long way towards avoiding an Asian financial crisis similar to what hit in the late 1990s.

This may be of little comfort of Japanese diaper companies.

The tax hike, rising fuel costs, and growing manufacturing expenses mean that for certain companies, selling out their diapers means nothing. They’ll be lucky to break even.

An Osaka-based diaper broker was particularly gloomy of the outlook. He said, “This business used to be profitable.”

Image via YouTube

  • Susan Betts

    Why not use cotton diapers my mother had 4 children and not one of us every had a disposable diaper used on us. Not to mention the added benefit of not adding additional pollution to our planet.

    • Susan Wydra

      Well not entirely true..I assume your mother washed that diaper in very hot
      water? I assume that your mother used detergents and even additives
      to get them not only clean but sanitized? I assume she had to use a dryer sometimes? The reason the disposables are better for your baby’s health
      is because the keep the urine off of the baby…much safer really…like it or
      not. Susan…where you born in the 30’s?

      • MrsKenney

        Cloth diapers are more gentle on a baby’s skin in my experience at least. Some practice is required to learn the proper technique for washing and using them but once learned they are quite simple. Anyway, the likelihood of diaper rash has more to do with how often a diaper is changed, additives in the diaper from manufacturing OR washing, and your baby’s skin sensitivities.

      • JB

        Actually, today’s cloth diapers usually have a fleece liner that pulls moisture away from the baby’s skin. Disposables, however, are full of chemicals to make them absorbent. Cloth diapers aren’t necessarily much better for the environment, but they are generally healthier on babies’ delicate skin.

        • Susan Betts

          You can buy 100% cotten ones. My husband buys them to wash his car with. They don’t scratch…….

          • JB

            Yes, I used those when my children (both under the age of ten) were newborns. They work great, but I found the fleece/wool liners to be a big help when they were wetting more.

      • Susan Betts

        Actually no my mother was a naturalist and used only pure products that did not hurt children or the environment. Secondly hanging diapers out in the sun kills just about any residual viral or bacterial and of course during the winter time you might have to use the dryer but adequate heat does the same thing. Secondly, I was born in 1962. We grew our own food too. She was a biologist. So I am pretty certain she had a handle on this. It was a great country life for children to grow up in.

  • c k

    I suspect it’s all the old geezers buying them for their own horrid uses.

    • Susan Betts

      Sorry they do work great for buffing your car. LOL From one old Geezer to another.

  • Rubydo


  • omegaman

    Bet they never thought about controlling their population.

    • Bob

      Yeah, except for the fact that their birth rate is one of the lowest in the world…

    • Susan Betts

      That’s China dude