Researchers: Japan will have no kids under age 15 by 3011
By msnbc.com staff Japan will have no children under the age of 15 in 999 years if current trends continue, according to researchers at Tohoku University Graduate School of Economics in Sendai. A population clock developed by the researchers shows the ...
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Japan's Demographic and Cultural Destiny
Within the lifetimes of today's teenagers, Japan's destiny is to lose 30 percent of its population, and to suffer a remaining citizenry skewed toward the 60s,70s, 80s and 90s. No adjectives are required to dramatize the situation. The numbers suffice.
Demographics is destiny, or so they say. Within the lifetimes of today’s teenagers, Japan’s destiny is to lose 30 percent of its population, and to suffer a remaining citizenry skewed toward their 60s,70s, 80s and 90s.
No adjectives are required to dramatize the situation. The numbers suffice. The most recent forecast for Japan’s population, produced every five years by the Ministry of Health and Labor’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research and released on January 30, posited the following:
- Within 50 years (by 2060) the population will decline annually by 200,000 to 1 million persons, from the current roughly 128,000,000 to 86,740,000.
- By age, in 2060 the proportion of young people 14 years old and under will decline to 9.1 percent. At the same time, the proportion of those 65 years old and above will increase to 39.9 percent.
- With this structure, Japan will be among the world’s most demographically distorted countries.
Not that the government or, by and large, the man in the street, is sanguine about this prospect. In the last post I wrote about the risk aversion that is so uniquely part of the Japanese world view. But fear of the unknown and resistance to change can be matched by a zen fatalism when it seems that nothing can be done about a situation.
Of course the Japanese government–like other governments–is not in the business of zen fatalism. It has proposed a new “child and child raising system” to make bearing and raising children less burdensome. At a cost of some JPY 1 trillion a year–JPY 700 billion of which funded by an increase in the consumption tax–waiting lists for day care would be eliminated.
What are the prospective consequences for Japan’s economy? The forecast is that the working age population (15 to 64 years old) will decline by almost half to 44 million. A countermeasure is to increase the proportion of women in the workforce. (It is already fairly high, but skewed toward part time and non-professional work.) Much more promising and potentially effective will be to delay retirement (especially mandated retirement) of men. What is needed is deregulation of labor markets and removal of restrictive employment practices.
Many foreign observers see large scale immigration as the antidote to Japan’s demographic decline. Large scale immigration would inevitably entrain a demand for some degree of multiculturalism. The Japanese, quite simply (and, as I have written before, justifiably) would prefer decline.
The government is proposing increasing permanent residence for highly educated and highly skilled foreigners. But the scale of such opening will be tightly controlled and limited to relatively easily assimilated Asians, particularly Chinese and Taiwanese.
What will Japan be like in 30, 40, or 50 years? I won’t be around to know, but I imagine that it will still be the marvelous place it is today. Maybe even more so. It will probably be an easier place in which to live. Less crowded, certainly. The countryside, in particular, will be even more beautiful and enchanting.
More than almost anywhere else in the world, history and traditions will be revered and preserved, and will continue to inform the manners and values of the Japanese people. Indeed, Japan will have become a citadel protecting and preserving Asia’s glorious classical past, continuing–as it does today–to play Greece to China’s Rome. 這是不倫不類的說法