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Is 88 million the magic number for Japan’s population?

85 Comments
By James M. Rogers
Shibuya crowds
Shibuya crowds Photo: Mlenny / iStock

Throughout Japan, the consensus is that its declining population is not just a problem; it’s a crisis. One popular talking point regarding the declining population is immigration.

However, in 2002, Professor J. Sean Curtin explained in an article on the Japanese Institute for Global Relations GLOCOM Platform that if Japan aimed to maintain its 1995 labor force, it would end up with 33.5 million immigrants living within its borders by 2050 (30% of its predicted population), radically changing a once mostly homogeneous society in which only approximately 2.3% of the population are non-Japanese.

Regardless of this boding fact, immigration has not been significant enough over recent years to stem this decline — and continuing to focus on it as a solution may be futile.

As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

Japan is still crowded

However, if you compare Japan’s population density with other countries worldwide, its population decline may be considered positive. In my research paper “On Addressing Japan’s Declining Population With a Landmass to Population Metric” published by the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies (E.J.C.J.S.), I compared Japan's population density with countries having a population of more than 4.8 million and a landmass of 100,000 square kilometers.

I chose a minimum population of 4.8 million because that is the population of New Zealand, the developed country with the smallest population in the dataset. I chose 100,000 square kilometers as the country's minimum geographic size because that is the landmass of South Korea, a country with a similar socio-economic status to Japan. The results indicated that—even at 125 million—Japan is still crowded compared to other countries. It ranked fifth out of 97 countries.

Emulating Germany may be the key

In that study, I was surprised when I compared Germany’s population density and economics to Japan’s. It has a similar landmass to Japan as well as an equivalent level of development and world power status — but it ranks much lower for population density, with 83 million people. If Japan had a similar population density as Germany, its population would be 88 million. Because Germany has a vibrant economy, strong world power status and a high standard of living, the Japanese government could consider its population as an ideal floor number for which to strive.

For Japan to emulate Germany’s successes, some number crunching is necessary. We would need  to shed light on some underlying issues that may be the source of Japan’s stagnant economy, which has, in turn, affected its fertility rate.

First, Japan is well-known throughout the world for the products it exports, from Toyota Camrys to Sony PlayStations. However, Germany’s exports were 46.6% of its GDP in 2019, while Japan’s were only 17.4%.

Second, Japan’s debt weighs heavily on its economy. It is a whopping 240% of its GDP, while Germany’s is only 69.3%.

"... trains will be less crowded, housing may become cheaper and there will be more room for parking and backyards."

The last issue is the lack of foreign investment. Japan’s inward foreign direct investment as a percentage of gross domestic product was a mere 4.4% in 2019. In comparison, Germany’s was 24.8% and the developed economies’ average was 41.8%. But why? Are no foreign companies interested in investing in Japan? Well, the low percentage may be more due to government interference rather than a lack of interest.

In 2020, the Japanese government lowered the threshold in which a foreign transaction requires the government's approval from an attempt to purchase 10% of shares to a mere 1%. So, if Japan wants to emulate Germany’s successes, it may need to boost its exports, lower its debt and open itself up to foreign investment.

Focusing on Japan’s strengths

In 2018, in an article titled “Finding Opportunities in Japan’s Aging Population,” Anton Miranda, of the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (C.I.R.S.S.), referred to Japan’s declining population as a “demographic time bomb.” However, my research indicates that it may be more of a firecracker than a bomb if Japan takes proper economic measures. By learning from Germany, Japan could prepare for this population correction, which may be a better way to describe what is occurring since transitioning from being overcrowded to a less crowded and stable population may be considered positive from some perspectives.

Of course, if the population continues to decline, there will be a myriad of issues to deal with. A few generations will probably end up paying higher taxes during this correction, but there will also be more job opportunities for the younger generation as they will be a valuable commodity. Moreover, trains will be less crowded, housing may become cheaper and there will be more room for parking and backyards — things considered luxuries in Japanese cities but much more common in less crowded nations.

Some local governments have even accepted that the decline is inevitable and have adjusted their approach to dealing with its effects on local economies.

In 2010, Peter Matanle and Yasuyuki Sato wrote an article for the Social Science Japan Journal (“Coming Soon to a City Near You! Learning to Live 'Beyond Growth' In Japan's Shrinking Regions”) on Sado Island’s efforts to revive indigenous crafts to prevent its population from further decline. In it, they mention that the provision of education to produce the crafts in turn provided economic opportunities, giving people a reason to stay — and giving people from outside of the island a reason to visit.

Tourism is actually something Japan has excelled at improving over the last 20 years, going from a mere 5 million visitors in 2003 to a high of 32 million in 2019. Therefore, it may be prudent for Japan to focus even more on it as a potential solution to grappling with economic problems associated with a dwindling populace.

In the lyrics of the famous Sado Island folk song “Sado Okesa,” a question is asked:  “Is Sado a good place to live?” However, if Japan’s population continues to decline, can Sado Island really be considered a good place to live?

By considering the statistics above, modifying its approach to dealing with the decline in population, looking abroad for insights — and more importantly, focusing on what it thrives on doing — the answer could be: “Yes.” Not only for Sado Island, but for Japan as a whole.

Dr. James Rogers is an associate professor at Meijo University who has published approximately 50 articles on linguistics, Japanese studies, race and the environment.

© Japan Today

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"... trains will be less crowded, housing may become cheaper and there will be more room for parking and backyards."

And the economy will be in tatters because the only jobs will be in old folk's homes and senior citizens will be unable to afford them.

-14 ( +15 / -29 )

"As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results."

When we learn to walk as toddlers, we stand up, stumble...and fall...over and over and over again...until we can finally navigate our own balance and begin to walk. If we heed "the saying", we are doomed to fail in life by dint of never trying anything that takes time to achieve.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Regardless of this boding fact, immigration has not been significant enough over recent years to stem this decline — and continuing to focus on it as a solution may be futile.

When has Japan EVER focused on immigration?? What a stupid thing to say.

As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

Which is exactly what Japan and the Japanese ALWAYS do.

Of course, if the population continues to decline, there will be a myriad of issues to deal with. A few generations will probably end up paying higher taxes during this correction,

that's putting it VERY mildly.

but there will also be more job opportunities for the younger generation as they will be a valuable commodity.

IF the economy is still viable. There are plenty of job opportunities NOW. The problem is the working environment in Japan is toxic with long working hours and unpaid overtime, bullying and harassment, AND crap wages. Unless those problem are remedied when Japan is at 80 mil NOTHING will be different

Moreover, trains will be less crowded,

NO they won't. The population decline is mainly in the rural areas. As those get more and more hollowed out, the remainder of the people will have no choice but to more to more urban areas making the trains even more crowded. Plus we saw during the pandemic that when less people used trains, the train companies ran less trains to keep a profit going. So even if there is an urban decline (which I doubt due to the exodus out of the rural areas and into the urban ones) it will lead to less trains running meaning more inconvenience.

housing may become cheaper

we have over 9 million vacant homes in Japan (Akiya) and around 2 million of them are in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. Housing will NOT become cheaper as old homes are discarded and not reformed or passed cheaply to those who need them. Instead we are already seeing tons of new houses being built and old ones just being discarded. No reason to think that this will change with 80 mil.

and there will be more room for parking and backyards — things considered luxuries in Japanese cities but much more common in less crowded nations.

Horse manure. I wish we could post pictures here so I could show TONS of homes with no gardens standing next to vacant lots overgrown with weeds-literally next door to these houses. There is enough space TODAY to provide backyards for families, but the houses being built today just don't have it and they won't have it when the population goes down to 80 mil.

And the economy will be in tatters because the only jobs will be in old folk's homes and senior citizens will be unable to afford them.

exactly.

-11 ( +20 / -31 )

"And the economy will be in tatters because the only jobs will be in old folk's homes and senior citizens will be unable to afford them."

All forecasts point to 50% of current jobs becoming obsolete within the next 25 years. An influx of immigrations would mean an increase in unemployment, meaning even more strain on the public coffers. So, besides senior citizens Japan will have to support the masses of unemployed which would be exacerbated by immigration.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

"Second, Japan’s debt weighs heavily on its economy. It is a whopping 240% of its GDP, while Germany’s is only 69.3%"

Two things. 43% of Japan's dept is to itself. Japan is also the world's number one creditor. The net value of assets held by the Japanese government, businesses and individuals stood at a record high of 411 trillion yen ($3.24 trillion) at the end of last year.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

"The problem is the working environment in Japan is toxic with long working hours and unpaid overtime"

Japan ranks 27th in the world for hours worked per annum. Not everyone works in the corporate towers of Shinjuku or in agriculture. Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks. There's a reason Japan Rail cites the hour between 5~6pm the busiest in train stations throughout Japan in the evening. That's when MOST people are returning home.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Aly - all pertinent points that need to be addressed in this discussion.

It's fine to play the glass half full vs half empty hand, but breezing lightly over the details informs no-one.

Of course we know a smaller population has benefits, in fact over population is one of the world's most pressing problems. This is not new news.

But the govt(s) to date in Japan have known of the demographic crisis of 2 workers to one elderly coming soon for decades - and they've just been shifting deck chairs (don't want to upset the voter base?).

The article flits over details with crushing simplicity -

*"..Of course, if the population continues to decline, there will be a myriad of issues to deal with. **A few generations will probably **end up paying higher taxes during this correction,..."*

A few generations. Thank god it's only a few - you know 50 ~ 80 years for 100s of millions.

Probably? Heh, Heh? That's funny.

Articles such as this need to be far more analytical and point the bone where it needs to be pointed.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Japan ranks 27th in the world for hours worked per annum. Not everyone works in the corporate towers of Shinjuku or in agriculture. Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks. 

I really hope you are not gullible enough to believe that.

There is something called sabisu Zangyo where people work overtime and it is not recorded. People clock out and then they continue working.

The idea that most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks is laughable.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

The article flits over details with crushing simplicity -

Absolutely.

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

"There is something called sabisu Zangyo where people work overtime and it is not recorded. People clock out and then they continue working."

There is also something called Japan Rail, which cites the hour between 5~6pm as the busiest in train stations throughout Japan.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

A few generations will probably end up paying higher taxes during this correction, but there will also be more job opportunities for the younger generation as they will be a valuable commodity.

Ridiculously glib on this point. If they try to tax their way through this decline, there will be no job opportunities. High taxes are already crushing the economy, higher taxes will remove all hope and still be unable to maintain government services. Accept a decline in government services and free up the people so they can rebuild the economy and have some hope.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

There is also something called Japan Rail, which cites the hour between 5~6pm as the busiest in train stations throughout Japan.

Try taking the last train as I have. Just as busy if not worse than 5-6 pm.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

"Try taking the last train as I have. Just as busy if not worse than 5-6 pm."

Anecdotal piffle vs Japan Rail's facts (you realize they have counters on the turnstiles right?)

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Anecdotal piffle vs Japan Rail's facts (you realize they have counters on the turnstiles right?)

and you realize that not everyone takes the train to work right?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

You also realize that the gov itself recognizes that overtime, especially unpaid and unreported overtime is a problem here.

Your desire to gloss over Japan's problems doesn't make them go away. It exacerbates them.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

“You realize not everyone takes the train to work right”

It’s estimated that roughly 70% of Japanese employees commute to work by public transit. Shinjuku Station has 3.6 Million commuters per day.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Why not Germany indeed? Japan made up its nationalism based on the German model. The army and militarism too. It's German through and through. Hell, it even got its sense of humour from Germany. Germany moved on from it all though. I wish Japan were Germany.

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

t’s estimated that roughly 70% of Japanese employees commute to work by public transit. Shinjuku Station has 3.6 Million commuters per day.

Estimated. And have they also factored in how many of these people also work on Saturdays and Sundays?

Just because the trains are packed at 5-7 pm doesn't mean there isn't a problem with overtime.

Especially when the gov itself has repeated stated that there is an overtime problem

4 ( +8 / -4 )

However, the reality, as anyone who lives here can tell you, is that the busiest times on the commuter lines out of Tokyo are more like 9 or 10pm, when the trains are stuffed full of exhausted, depressed workers going home.

exactly!

-9 ( +12 / -21 )

“You also realize that the gov itself recognizes that overtime, especially unpaid and unreported overtime is a problem here.”

Absolutely! In sectors like finance, marketing and agriculture, just as it is in every other developed nation on the planet in those sectors.

The fact is Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks and JR’s numbers corroborate that. Anecdotally speaking (we seem to like anecdotes on here), I run a youth ice hockey program that currently has 70 kids. We practice 2 nights a week from 7~9 pm and on weekends from 7am~9pm. I’d say 90% of those kids are driven to practices and games by their fathers.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

The fact is Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks and JR’s numbers corroborate that.

No they do not

Nevertheless, if we take a look at the statistics, it looks like the average monthly overtime in Japan is 24.3 hours. The amount seems to have increased in the infrastructure and transportation industries, while people who work in consulting and mass media are working less overtime.

However, these reports and analyses are based on anonymous data and can be deceiving. It’s estimated that employers underreport overtime, so the actual numbers are probably higher. 

Overtime in Japan: How Bad Is It Really? [2022 Guide] | Japan Dev (japan-dev.com)

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Like Tokyo m said

the numbers are made up of schoolkids coming home from school, people heading back from the shops, and a few people lucky enough to be heading home from work.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

"The numbers are made up of schoolkids coming from school, people heading home from shops"

Here's a fun experiment. Go to YouTube and input "Shinjuku, the world's busiest station". You'll find a video of a platform showing the time of the next train, 18:00. The platform is packed with people wearing suits, holding briefcases. The trains on either side of the platforms...the same. There's not a single school uniform in the entire duration of the video. Not a one...among literally hundreds of commuters.

Have at it...enjoy

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

All forecasts point to 50% of current jobs becoming obsolete within the next 25 years. An influx of immigrations would mean an increase in unemployment, meaning even more strain on the public coffers. So, besides senior citizens Japan will have to support the masses of unemployed which would be exacerbated by immigration.

AI hasn't made work obsolete yet. Might as well be betting that robots will care for the elderly. Will never happen in time.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Here's a fun experiment. Go to YouTube and input "Shinjuku, the world's busiest station". You'll find a video of a platform showing the time of the next train, 18:00. The platform is packed with people wearing suits, holding briefcases. The trains on either side of the platforms...the same. There's not a single school uniform in the entire duration of the video. Not a one...among literally hundreds of commuters.

Here's an even BETTER experiment: go to Kasumigaseki and talk to some politicians about the overwork problem. Tell them that dribble about Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks and that overtime is not an issue in Japan and see what their reaction is

Have at it. Enjoy!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

AI hasn't made work obsolete yet. Might as well be betting that robots will care for the elderly. Will never happen in time.

Exactly. And having worked in the blue collar industry here I can tell you NO ONE in those sectors believes that crap

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I still have deep trust that Japan won’t try to walk too long on that misleading path and makes the same errors with importing not only masses of people but moreover the related problem catalogs like they did and still do in other Western countries which will not even have the possibility anymore to recover from their biggest ever errors.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"Here's an even BETTER experiment: go to Kasumigaseki and talk to some politicians about the overwork problem. Tell them that dribble about Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks and that overtime is not an issue in Japan and see what their reaction is"

My guess is they'll refer me to the corporate sector in fields such as finance, marketing etc. in which overtime is rampant throughout the globe. I wonder if we tried your experiment on Wall St.. Do you suppose overtime isn't rampant there?

You could come and talk to all the fathers watching their kids play hockey and ask them why they're not at work. OR...you could try to twist your pretzel logic into coming up with how is it the train stations throughout Japan cite the hour between 5~6 as the busiest...other than, that's when people are returning home. "They're mostly students" doesn't hold up when you see any video footage of train platforms @ 6pm.

Figure it out

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

"AI hasn't made work obsolete yet."

This headline from CNN, dated March 29th, 2023

"300 million jobs could be affected by latest wave of AI, says Goldman Sachs"

"As many as 300 million full-time jobs around the world could be automated in some way by the newest wave of artificial intelligence that has spawned platforms like ChatGPT, according to Goldman Sachs economists."

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"it looks like the average monthly overtime in Japan is 24.3 hours."

The average of "overtime hours"...which doesn't include regular hours, meaning it doesn't include those who don't work overtime.]

So, among those who do work overtime, they work an average of 1 hour overtime a day. They're the ones on the 6 o'clock train...not the ones on the 5:15.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Readers, you are going around in circles. Please get the discussion back on Japan's population, not trains.

My guess is they'll refer me to the corporate sector in fields such as finance, marketing etc. in which overtime is rampant throughout the globe. I wonder if we tried your experiment on Wall St.. Do you suppose overtime isn't rampant there?

I'm not talking about one sector. I'm talking all society.

You could come and talk to all the fathers watching their kids play hockey and ask them why they're not at work. OR...you could try to twist your pretzel logic into coming up with how is it the train stations throughout Japan cite the hour between 5~6 as the busiest...other than, that's when people are returning home. "They're mostly students" doesn't hold up when you see any video footage of train platforms @ 6pm.

Figure it out

NONE of which fits the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT'S claim that insane amounts of overtime is one of the MAIN REASONS for the low fertility rate- But hey- guess you know more about THAT the J GOV???

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

So, among those who do work overtime, they work an average of 1 hour overtime a day. They're the ones on the 6 o'clock train...not the ones on the 5:15.

However, these reports and analyses are based on anonymous data and can be deceiving. It’s estimated that employers underreport overtime, so the actual numbers are probably higher. 

Helps to read the article properly

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"I'm not talking about one sector. I'm talking all society."

All except the bulk of commuters heading home @ 5pm

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I'm not talking about one sector. I'm talking all society."

All except the bulk of commuters heading home @ 5pm

Japanese overtime is a serious societal problem whether you want to admit it or not.

The J- gov already has.

Deal with it

3 ( +8 / -5 )

And it is a direct cause of Japan dipping well below 80 million mark

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Overtime should be legally limited to 10-15 hours per month. Having a life and a family life is very important for the well-being of the country.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

"NONE of which fits the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT'S claim that insane amounts of overtime is one of the MAIN REASONS for the low fertility rate- But hey- guess you know more about THAT the J GOV???"

Here are the lowest fertility rates by country:

South Korea - 0.9

Puerto Rico (U.S. territory) - 1.0

Hong Kong (China SAR) - 1.1 (tie)

Malta - 1.1 (tie)

Singapore - 1.1 (tie)

Macau (China SAR) - 1.2 (tie)

Ukraine - 1.2 (tie)

Spain - 1.2 (tie)

Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1.3 (tie)

San Marino - 1.3 (tie)

Moldova - 1.3 (tie)

Italy - 1.3 (tie)

Andorra - 1.3 (tie)

Cyprus - 1.3 (tie)

Luxembourg - 1.3 (tie)

How rampant is overtime in Luxembourg?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

NONE of which fits the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT'S claim that insane amounts of overtime is one of the MAIN REASONS for the low fertility rate- But hey- guess you know more about THAT the J GOV???"

Here are the lowest fertility rates by country:

I'm well aware of the stats and that with the exception of Africa nearly everywhere has low fertility. But demographers that have studied the different trends actually say while the low fertility is a global problem, the REASONS for the low fertility are different in every country.

And since we are talking about Japan, we need to address the reasons for Japan's low fertility, and the fact that Japan is the OLDEST society in the world

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

"Japanese overtime is a serious societal problem whether you want to admit it or not."

Yes, it's a problem...in the sectors I've noted.

The FACT remains, MOST Japanese are heading home between 5 and 6pm. That verifiable fact dovetails with, OECD's numbers that put Japan as 27th in the world for hours worked per annum.

Certainly, finance, marketing, agriculture have an issue with rampant overtime...which is the case throughout the world.

That said, on average, the Japanese work 40 hours a week, by any reliable, verifiable metric.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

"Funny. Who said...

It’s estimated that roughly 70% of Japanese employees commute to work by public transit. Shinjuku Station has 3.6 Million commuters per day.

???"

These stats can be corroborated by the actual number of commuters RECORDED daily.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

The FACT remains, MOST Japanese are heading home between 5 and 6pm. That verifiable fact dovetails with, OECD's numbers that put Japan as 27th in the world for hours worked per annum.

Certainly, finance, marketing, agriculture have an issue with rampant overtime...which is the case throughout the world.

That said, on average, the Japanese work 40 hours a week, by any reliable, verifiable metric.

again. Incorrect. The Japanese government has cited overtime as one of main problems of the low childbirth. Even the J gov does not agree with what you have said above and DO acknowledge undocumented overtime as rampant and as a serious problem.

And there have been MANY articles written here on JT citing that problem AND linking it to the low birth rate.

Sorry.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japanese overtime is a serious societal problem whether you want to admit it or not."

Yes, it's a problem...in the sectors I've noted.

Funny you didn't cite teachers. There have been countless articles here on JT stating that the most overworked people and the most Karoshi experienced is by SCHOOL TEACHERS so you might want to do a little more research before posting so fast

3 ( +7 / -4 )

"And since we are talking about Japan, we need to address the reasons for Japan's low fertility, and the fact that Japan is the OLDEST society in the world"

Affluence, women entering the workforce, the advent of the Internet (which enables people to withdraw from society and stay in the comfort of their cocoons), attacks on the concept of "the nuclear family", consumer driven society in which the accumulation of nice things is presented as "winning" at life, etc.

The fact is Japanese worked on average longer hours in the 1950s and 1960s when the fertility rate was almost double what it is now.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics, diet, seniors being active...and having the best healthcare system on the planet

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The fact is Japanese worked on average longer hours in the 1950s and 1960s when the fertility rate was almost double what it is now.

It was a different society then. People got married through arranged marriages like OMIAI so it didn't matter if you worked overtime. Someone got paid to introduce you to a future spouse. That doesn't happen anymore.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics,

seriously??

diet, seniors being active...

right. Nowhere else are seniors active.. sure.

and having the best healthcare system on the planet

France and Australia have better healthcare than Japan. Both have consistently ranked higher. Again do your homework before posting.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Geeter Mckluskie

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics, diet, seniors being active...and having the best healthcare system on the planet

I am very happy with the healthcare, especially going through cancer but it would be far-fetched to say it was the best in the world. I was saved by the advanced medical equipment and training. On a medical level, the US is probably the best.

One could even argue that Egypt was born when the First Dynasty of Egypt formed around 3100 BCE, according to a study available in the National Library of Medicine.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2023/01/18/what-is-the-oldest-country-in-the-world/10592125002/

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In these countries, people live substantially longer than the worldwide average – and each place has its own secret source of vitality.

https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20170807-living-in-places-where-people-live-the-longest

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"On a medical level, the US is probably the best."

Tell that to the 30 million Americans without health insurance

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Geeter Mckluskie

"On a medical level, the US is probably the best."

> Tell that to the 30 million Americans without health insurance

That is why I stated, "on a medical level". The overall American healthcare system is not as good as Japan's. The almost universal Japanese healthcare and charges are superior.

The robot machine used to remove my cancer organ was invented in America as was the advanced MRI machines that scanned my entire body.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics,

seriously??

Yes...quite seriously.

diet, seniors being active...

right. Nowhere else are seniors active.. sure.

"Nowhere else" is your strawman...not mine. I said "due to being active"

and having the best healthcare system on the planet

France and Australia have better healthcare than Japan. Both have consistently ranked higher. Again do your homework before posting.

I did. Here's what I found:

1 Belgium with a health score of 83.8 2 Japan with a health score of 83.2 3 Sweden with a health score of 83.1 4 Norway with a health score of 82.2 5 Germany with a health score of 81.1 9 France with a health score of 80.4

Australia isn't in the top 10

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Why not compare with welfare countries, where people live in happiness and prosperity? Here are these numbers, rounded to millions:

Sweden: 10 million

Switzerland: 8 million

Finland: 6 million

Norway: 5 million

So, between 5 and 10 million seems more like it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The life span in the article I linked shows four nations with the same life span as Japanese.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

1 Belgium with a health score of 83.8 2 Japan with a health score of 83.2 3 Sweden with a health score of 83.1 4 Norway with a health score of 82.2 5 Germany with a health score of 81.1 9 France with a health score of 80.4

So Belgium is number one. That’s not what you said

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics, diet, seniors being active...and having the best healthcare system on the planet

So you were wrong

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

And the reason that Japan is the oldest country in the world is because the population fertility rate was dropping in the 1970s and 80s and it was already being discussed as a problem way back then.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

So trying to compare the population issues of Japan with other countries is pretty disingenuous. Not to mention that smaller countries like Luxenberg you mentioned above fluctuate tremendously due to the tiny population versus Japan’s large population.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@ Fredrik wrote:

"Why not compare with welfare countries, where people live in happiness and prosperity? Here are these numbers, rounded to millions:

Sweden: 10 million

Switzerland: 8 million

Finland: 6 million

Norway: 5 million

So, between 5 and 10 million seems more like it."

Bang on, Fredrik

However, that likely won't sit well with politicians who are bent on their cash cow grift of bilking the public for tax revenue to prop up their "projects"

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

However, that likely won't sit well with politicians who are bent on their cash cow grift of bilking the public for tax revenue to prop up their "projects"

Hey man! We finally agree on something! Time for a few Namas and Yakitori- What do you say?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"Funny you didn't cite teachers. There have been countless articles here on JT stating that the most overworked people and the most Karoshi experienced is by SCHOOL TEACHERS so you might want to do a little more research before posting so fast"

I didn't cite teachers, because I'm a full-time licensed teacher (not an ALT nor a shokutaku). As of 3 years ago MEXT made it mandatory for teachers to have 2 full days off a week above and beyond their 40 days off a year, not including sick days or national holidays. We are remotely monitored and have had to log in digitally since MEXT updated the LAW.

I work 40 hours a week...like MOST Japanese

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I didn't cite teachers, because I'm a full-time licensed teacher (not an ALT nor a shokutaku). As of 3 years ago MEXT made it mandatory for teachers to have 2 full days off a week above and beyond their 40 days off a year, not including sick days or national holidays. We are remotely monitored and have had to log in digitally since MEXT updated the LAW.

So YOU GOT LUCKY. I can Cite you a NUMBER of schools in the prefecture you work at which make their teachers work 6 days a week and sometimes 7. Let me know if you want the names of the schools and I'll send them privately to you.

I work 40 hours a week

Consider yourself lucky.

...like MOST Japanese

Incorrect, AGAIN

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

"So Belgium is number one. That’s not what you said

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics, diet, seniors being active...and having the best healthcare system on the planet

So you were wrong"

Yes, I was wrong...It's #2

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The results show that the average time spent at school on a working day was 11 hours, 21 minutes. Although this is eight minutes less than the average of 11 hours, 29 minutes in the previous survey (2015), it remains high. Furthermore, if time spent working from home is added, the average increases to 12 hours, 7 minutes, which exceeds the prescribed working day (7 hours, 45 minutes) by more than four hours.

The survey also found that teachers work an average of 3 hours, 24 minutes on weekends due to their responsibilities related to club activities and other tasks. Adding up all of the hours for the month results in 293 hours, 46 minutes. This average is 6 minutes less than that of the previous survey, but still exceeds the prescribed working hours by 123 hours, 16 minutes. The Industrial Safety and Health Act defines the “**karōshi line” as working more than 100 hours of overtime in the month before the onset of a health problem. In other words, many teachers are in a dangerous situation that could seriously damage their health.**

Extreme Overtime Takes a Toll on Japan’s Teachers | Nippon.com

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Some 77.1% of teachers at public junior high schools in Japan worked beyond the 45-hour monthly overtime cap in fiscal 2022, education ministry data showed Friday, providing further evidence of their notoriously long working hours.

The preliminary data also showed 64.5% of public elementary school teachers worked 50 hours or more a week at schools, which amounts to doing more than 45 hours of overtime a month.

77% of junior high school teachers exceeded overtime cap in fiscal 2022 | The Japan Times

0 ( +7 / -7 )

TOKYO -- About 77% of public junior high school teachers and 65% of public elementary school teachers in Japan worked more than 45 hours of overtime per month -- the legally stipulated upper limit, according to preliminary figures from an education ministry survey on teachers' working conditions in the 2022 academic year.

Majority of public school teachers in Japan worked beyond overtime limit: survey - The Mainichi

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Readers, please don't get fixated on this story.

Aly Rustom - One of the few people here who are in touch with reality.

Seriously, school teachers have been on the conveyor belt education system for an extra 3-4 years. They work insane hours. Clocking at 4:40 but going home at 9:30 and whatnot. That's not including weekend excursions for mandatory club practices or school events, once again, unpaid.

Anyone who argues that school teachers work normal hours here must work/have worked in the school system blindfolded.

The "world statistics", for work/life, happiness or education are fudged. Even surveys taken here are fudged because people don't have a concept of international standards when they answer them.

I'm willing to bet more than 50% of all surveys taken in Japan are answered untruthfully. Just look at discrepancies between TV product advertising and Amazon reviews. Or the overwhelming number of negative Google reviews for restaurants, movies, or other businesses.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Bofington

Thank you

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

"As many as 300 million full-time jobs around the world could be automated in some way by the newest wave of artificial intelligence that has spawned platforms like ChatGPT, according to Goldman Sachs economists."

How many full time jobs are there in the world? 2 billion? 3 billion? What are the chances that these jobs are not the orderly jobs in the old folks homes that are needed?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japan is the oldest society in the world due to genetics, diet, seniors being active...and having the best healthcare system on the planet

While those factors may play a part, I think a big factor is the more rapid drop in the birth rate over the last 90 years or so compared to other developed countries. I can't find full data for comparison, but for example...

1950-55: USA - 3.32; France - 2.74; Sweden - 2.24; Japan - 2.96

2010-15: USA - 1.88; France - 1.98; Sweden - 1.90; Japan - 1.41

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_past_fertility_rate

Immigration (or lack of it) is also another factor.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Most Japanese work standard 40 hour work weeks.

Lol, that is too funny.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I'm willing to bet more than 50% of all surveys taken in Japan are answered untruthfully.

I came into that realization when I held a survey at my company (without my name being disclosed) and received different results from when I personally talked to those who were being surveyed. Many people have lots to say behind the company's back but can't seem to have the guts to let them know even if these survey's show them as anonymous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"... trains will be less crowded, housing may become cheaper and there will be more room for parking and backyards."

This delinquent statement is a fundamental failure to understand or comprehend the consequences, or reverberation, the basic numbers/model behind depopulation at a very basic level.

Without a constant stream of tax revenue, shrinkage will determine the level or need to maintain the frequency of public transport at every level.

In fact every sector that maintains social services, child care, pensions will inevitably be impacted.

That is before the necessity to service sovereign debt requirement.

This opinionate is flawed nonsense.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Current Population Estimates as of October 1, 2021.

https://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/jinsui/2021np/index.html#a15k01-a

I understand these number are reasonably up to date.

View the Population Pyramid.

The natural change of the male population was negative for the seventeenth year in a row, and that of the female population was negative for the thirteenth year in a row.

How, in even the most optimistic fiscal/monetary scenarios can public services/infrastructure be maintained?

You don't think that depopulation affects tax revenue?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My humble opinion is not to dwell on global comparisons, but to focus on the reasons, causes of depopulation.

And then formulate economics/social policies that tackle the trends.

There are no simple solutions.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Get a train out of London at 10pm and most of the passengers have been in the pub and are having a great time. Get a train out of Tokyo at 10pm and most of the passengers are barely able to stand (and most are standing) from sheer exhaustion.

I've lived in both London and Tokyo. Those are both terrible generalizations.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Maxspeed

I, most mornings, walk my pets, Kochi , and notice the trains and trams, populated with students of all ages are sometime suffer depleted footfall.

The evening service is sometimes close to empty.

Every effort is made to save costs, new automated ticket machines, less staff.

However a number of services are unsustainable financially.

Public transport service will cease.

In Nagoya, I have a business there, costs are rising to secure staff across the age spectrum to meet the requirements of our customers, both domestic and US.

It is essential that Japan can sustain a workforce to deliver growth.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Comparing Japan with Germany is like comparing chalk with cheese

Land area, population and debt are the metrics Dr Rogers is focusing on but it’s only a minuscule part of the picture

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Is 88 million the magic number for Japan’s population?

Old people ???...Just asking lol

>

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Said it before and will say it again: Its not the population number that will be the issue.

Rather it is the shape of the population pyramid that. Without something resembling a traditional pyramid with most of the population being young with the elderly at the top, there is going to be severe consequences.

By the way, It is really meaningless comparing it to New Zealand, or anywhere else, unless you are comparing the shapes of the pyramids. And NZ has well over 5 million by the way. The author needs to get his facts right.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Because Germany has a vibrant economy, strong world power status and a high standard of living, the Japanese government could consider its population as an ideal floor number for which to strive.

Honestly this is just a spurious argument, as is most of what the author wrote in his other paper he linked in the article.

Japan's demographic problem just isn't usefully framed as an issue of population density per se. Japan functions fine with its current population density, reducing that won't solve anything. The problem is the aging of its population.

Germany also faces an aging population and only maintains its current level through mass immigration, something that makes the comparison with Germany the author completely useless unless Japan intends to do the same, something which the author seems to have foreclosed the possiblity of earlier in the article. Otherwise the comparison is meaningless and shallow.

Emulating Germany's ability to export so much (its in the EU, has many bordering countries with no trade restrictions), have a smaller debt (ship has already sailed, Japan can't wave a magic wand to change what its already spent), or change its foreign direct investment levels just aren't useful policy levers. The author at no point explains how any of these things relate to demographics at all. The arguments are just incomplete and make no sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Germany also faces an aging population and only maintains its current level through mass immigration.

Even with mass immigration, Germany's population is still shrinking. Also, in 30 years, there is no guarantee that even Germany will remain at the 80-88 million level.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the summary of this paper by Professor J. Sean Curtin is accurate, this would be an absurdly simplistic, childish paper. I have difficulties believe a university would produce something as ridiculous as this, but these days one never knows.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

8 is a lucky number in China.

So 88 = Twice Lucky in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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