a1 University of California, Berkeley
This article begins by disputing the claim by some scholars that the concept of a demographic transition is not applicable to Japan. Next, analysis of differentials and trends in natality over the period 1920 to 1960 suggests that changes in infant mortality and the degree of child employability may have been crucial reasons for Japan's modern fertility decline. In the short run, costs of birth regulation significantly helped determine levels of marital fertility. But in the long run, changes in such costs, without changes in attitudes toward desired number of births, could not have caused fertility decline.