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kuchikomi

Depopulation a surefire formula for national ruin

21 Comments

Whew -- talk about depressing headlines: "A great prophesy of Japan's demise. The frightening result of depopulation."

Then Shukan Jitsuwa (July 14) fearlessly plows ahead with the bad news. First of all, let's look at a paper on population statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued on June 3. After noting that 811,604 new infants were born in Japan during 2021, it pointed out that the average number of births per female had dropped for the sixth straight year, to 1.30.

With the acceleration of Japan's already low birth rate and aging of its population, the nation's future, in Shukan Jitsuwa's words, is zetsuboteki (hopeless).

"Twenty years from now, we'll be looking at a shortfall of 2 million care providers for the elderly," predicts professor Masahiro Yamada of Chuo University. "To fill that number would require half of the nation's new graduates every year. Paying costs for care won't be difficult for the wealthy, but for the rest, it won't be feasible. We'll be faced with the choice of either reducing services or relying on foreign labor; but as Japan becomes poorer, I don't know how we'll get foreign workers to come here."

The present situation, of elderly people caring for other elderly, has become a common occurrence, and this can only get worse, frets the writer, so increasing cases of kodokushi (dying alone) can be expected.

On May 7, Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- not exactly a Japan expert -- made headlines with a tweet that read, "At the risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birthrate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. This would be a great loss for the world."

Part of the looming problem will be caused by the huge demographic bulge of the postwar baby boomers, born between 1947 to 1949, who are now turning 75 years of age. With the decline in hospital beds, as people in this group begin to die out, 400,000 or more stand to become "refugees with no place to die."

If the present trend continues, by 2040, Japan will have become a "super-aged society," in which the burden of supporting an elderly person will fall on one out of every 1.5 households.

While numerous factors figure in population decline, one of the main causes is clearly shortsighted policies aimed at encouraging families to procreate. According to a survey by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2017, Japan's outlays for child rearing relative to GDP were 1.79% -- below the OECD member average of 2.34% and, for example, less than half of the 3.6% spent by France.

"Take Hungary, for example, which to deal with a decline in births devotes just under 5% of its GDP to families," points out the aforementioned professor Yamada. "School tuition there is free, and home purchases are generously subsidized. In the case a fourth child is born, the family's taxes are permanently exempted.

"For Japan to match European countries in measures to encourage the birth rate, it would need to devote a quarter of its national budget," he added.

What's the main cause of decline in the country's birthrate? As Yamada puts it, "There have only been small, incremental changes in Japan's societal values from its postwar period of high economic growth, when the prevailing view was, 'the husbands went to work, and the wives remained home and did housework.'"

The magazine noted that in the run-up to the July 10 elections, none of the major parties proposed any new changes to their population policies, so whichever party wins will be moot. Japan, clearly, has embarked on a road to ruin.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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All talk in Japan, and no concrete actions.

You need more useless meetings to take o KY the 1st step of any action.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Looks like the J-gov will need a large influx of tax money to help support the elderly.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/recreational-marijuana-sales-showered-states-cash-2021-n1287861

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

These children will cost the taxpayer 100 of thousands of dollars,until they get a job and pay taxes,almost 5 billion dollar year for these 800000 babies until they exit school and join the workforce

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Hungary pay EU taxes Illregard Google EU Taxrate

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

"Twenty years from now, we'll be looking at a shortfall of 2 million care providers for the elderly," predicts professor Masahiro Yamada of Chuo University. "To fill that number would require half of the nation's new graduates every year.

This sounds a bit misleading. Japan’s over 75 population in 2015 was around 18.7 million. The projection for 2045 is around 23 million. The number of over 90s most likely to require care will double compared to now, but will also peak before 2050 and start going down after that.

https://ecitizen.jp/Population/Country/JP

A recent headline in "The Economist" was "Asia’s advanced economies now have lower birth rates than Japan". It usually makes more sense to compare countries that are economically and culturally similar, not Japan vs. Hungary.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

There is no way to solve the birthrate crisis without solving the overwork crisis. People who routinely work until 8pm or later do not have time or energy to make or take care of babies and then kids.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The real problem is that Baby Boomers must be the most selfish generation in history. This problem, at its core, is all about "Who's going to take care of me and support me when I'm old?" Younger generations deserve their own futures - they shouldn't be treated like indentured servants working to supported a bloated population of elders whose reckless fiscal policies created their own situation. Sad as it is in many cases, the future of society is the youth. Sure, old people should be helped, but not at the cost of destroying the future of the youth.

People used to understand this. You want Japan to have a future? Get rid of the bloated bureaucracy and old politicians and give the younger generation a chance to build a strong country.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

We’ve been hearing about the great deflationary spiral and the catastrophe of a declining birthrate for decades.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If a country cares more for its military and spends what have been proposed to be unlimited resources for it than it cares for its families, why should potential parents care for children that will just be used to kill others and their children? And, with the future that appears to be rapidly approaching both in Nature and Human nature, the best advice may be that, if you really love your children, don't have them...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

At its highest population of 127m, Japan was over populated. The decline is much needed.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The real problem is that Baby Boomers must be the most selfish generation in history. 

Sigh. How parochial. Baby boomers only exist in the US. Blaming low birth rates on baby boomers does nothing to explain the low birth rates in places like PR China, South Korea, Singapore, Italy or Russia.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@NAM understands part of the problem, long workdays leaving workers with no time or energy for families. I will add a second thought for your consideration, namely living in high rise housing estates. How do you raise kids in a concrete high rise? No yard, no place for the kid to play safely outdoors unless a parent takes time away from their home to supervise their kids in a park. When I was a kid my mom would shoo me outside saying "go out and play" so she could get stuff done in the home. Same for the neighbor moms so the kids would play in the front yards of the homes. Can't do that when you live in the concrete jungle. So blame long workdays and demanding jobs, but also blame dense urban living.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Back when Japan's population was half of what it is today, many Japanese immigrated to Brazil, the US, Canada, etc. and the military conquered Manchuria for Japanese settlement on the grounds that the Japanese archipelago was too crowded .

2 ( +4 / -2 )

who wants to have a kid in a narcissistic society ruled by a government that sees citizens only as monetary nutrition. they don't even take care of children who are now alive and in poverty.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

One thing Japan can do is to outlaw mandatory retirement. Million of able bodies and able minded seniors are thrown out of their professions and forced to do nothing. Allowed to remain in civilized society where they are doing something useful will likely keep them more healthy in body and mind. This in turn will keep the elderly out of hospitals and places where they are useful.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

> K3POJuly 18  06:53 pm JST

At its highest population of 127m, Japan was over populated. The decline is much needed.

Yes & no, you need to look at HOW the population is declining, its in two areas, the elderly & newborns, the later is REALLY going to bite hard over time, you need to look at the population pyramid, for Japan its VERY narrow at the bottom & getting narrower over time, with ZERO immigration those numbers rise over time & NEVER get wider, unless fixed Japan will keep decreasing & even if average birthrate were to increase per family the population overall will continue to decrease, it aint looking good long term for Japan

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Boo Woo Woo.

they knew this would happen for decades and they continued kicking the can down the road.

NO ONE wanted to address the problem early on and all we heard is Japan is not a multicultural nation and doesn't want to be.

they could have solved this problem 20 years ago and had slow and careful immigration into the country, but they chose not to

OF COURSE no one wants to come and work here now. Japanese wages are extremely low for a developed nation and on top of that, they are not allowing real immigration- just a promise to allow guest workers to work 5 years and that's it. And they don't pay them enough to send money home.

Japan as usual boo woo wooing but this was their doing

they made their bed- now they have to sleep in it.

I just hope and pray I can find a way to get my family and I out and immigrate to Canada.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

But but but...How come??

Didn't Abe roll out the (roll the drums): 一億総活躍社会の実現 (Realization of a 100 Mio Society) initiative in 2015?

Here's the official site from the PM residence site (outdated since 2020 when Abe got the boot if you ask my opinion):

https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/headline/ichiokusoukatsuyaku/index.html

Here a more detailed article (courtesy of Wiki).

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%80%E5%84%84%E7%B7%8F%E6%B4%BB%E8%BA%8D%E5%9B%BD%E6%B0%91%E4%BC%9A%E8%AD%B0

Essentially, the key people on J-gov side were luminaries such as:

Abe

Aso

Suga

Noda

Moteki

etc

who were all cabinet members back then and met with (luckily for us): some experts from civil society...until 2020, I guess...The initiative got the official merci shot on November 12th, 2021...

The Wiki article has 2 projection-charts for:

.the projected population (until 2100, that is)

.the projected labor force (until 2048, that is and with different scenarios)

Things not looking good...

While actually in favor of reining in the number of humans on the planet, we need an exit-plan and roadmap in order to soften the blow to society, industry, etc. And that is nowhere to be seen in Japan, hence the country truddling towards the cliff at its current leisurely speed...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sigh. How parochial. Baby boomers only exist in the US. Blaming low birth rates on baby boomers does nothing to explain the low birth rates in places like PR China, South Korea, Singapore, Italy or Russia.

Not sure how to take it when Capt. America calls me parochial. Especially when I've lived in half the places you mention. Sorry, but "baby boomer" is not a uniquely American term. You guys don't own the word, sorry.

This story is about Japan - not China or Russia. And, as I said, the birth rates are not a problem. The problem is Japanese baby boomers' poor fiscal policy and debt that they expect the younger generation to pay off.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

the birth rates are not a problem.

How are low birth rates not a problem when the issue is a declining population??? This makes no sense. The math is very clear on this: it is a problem.

The problem is Japanese baby boomers' poor fiscal policy and debt that they expect the younger generation to pay off.

That might be a problem, but it is not one which relates much to the declining population. Young couples aren’t having discussions with each other in which they say “Gee, we’d love to have kids, but due to the poor fiscal policy of the baby boomer generation we’d better not”.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Send the Musk family over.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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