The Japanese sense of the "traditional family system" to which the archbishop refer is straightforward: a hard-working father who puts bread on the table; a mother dedicated to keeping the wallet, house, and kids in check; the children, who spend time between the home, school, and community groups such as sports teams; and the grandparents, typically parents of the mother, who help raise the children and maintain the house as best they can.
This style of family has also been called a "multi-generational household," and is becoming increasingly rare in Japan, especially in major metropolitan areas such as Tokyo.
"The collapse is caused by the situation in the workplace that goes along with the changing Japanese economic situation (non-regular employment, overtime, working parents)," said Archbishop Kikuchi.
"And the excessive activities in the education of children," the archbishop added, noting that extracurricular activities are held on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and students are often tied up for extra hours in "cram schools" due to the deterioration of the quality of education.
Japan's ruthless work culture is hardly unknown. The image of the exhausted salaryman working unpaid overtime deep into the night is a symbol that is recognizably Japanese in countries around the world, and one of the most enduring stereotypes of the Japanese people.
In recent generations, women have also more frequently entered the workforce – willingly or sometimes without a choice due to the economic pressures of raising children.
Less well known, however, are the strict expectations put on middle school and high school students to join and participate in after-school groups with their peers. More than just the competitive sports teams – clubs for music, art, and dance prove to be highly demanding of children's time.
Just as their parents are burdened with work expectations, children often spend more time out of the house than in it.
"From abroad, we even hear voices pointing out that school and community events held on Saturdays and Sundays are silently persecuting religion," laments the archbishop.
Many athletic groups demand members to practice on Saturday and Sunday – the time when most families should be going to mass.
"In addition, such a collapse in the traditional Japanese family system has caused marriages to break down, with single mothers raising their children in poverty," said the archbishop.
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"Under such circumstances, it has become difficult to find time to bring children to church on Sundays, and likewise difficult to find time to share the faith at home."
While club participation isn't mandatory, it is expected. Failing to join a sports team or interest-based group can severely handicap a student socially.
And while couples are financially rewarded for creating larger families, the government has been unable to give young Japanese a sufficient push to make them comfortable with the traditional idea of family-making.
Free kindergarten and child-care have recently been established after a recent bill passed – the legislation was offered as a way to encourage more children, taking the burden of early care off of the mother and father.
But monthly stipends and free nursery school are not enough to pull the tide of Japanese population decline in the other direction.
"Merely admonishing people to bring back the traditional home is not a solution. The problem concerns not only the church, but must be tackled by the entire society. Should this situation continue on, I am afraid not only the home but also the local community will collapse and disappear from the whole Japanese society."