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Japan's population down 644,000 in 2021; biggest drop on record

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Wow! How many births though?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

While some may interpret that as 'bad' news for Japan, if the world could see the same relative decline, it would be good news for our grandchildren...

4 ( +26 / -22 )

Japan's population totaled 125,502,000 as of Oct 1, down 644,000 from a year earlier, marking the biggest decline on record, according to government data released Friday.

Many developed countries see rising living standards as formerly booming populations stabilize and fall.

Not Japan though!

Especially when there are LDP and Japan Inc. hereditary parasites taking a larger and larger share of resources.

9 ( +26 / -17 )

Good news for the environment, for people looking for work, students looking to enter uni - and those who want to get a seat on the train and other amenities much easier going forward.

In short: Japan is showing the developed world that endless population growth is not necessary while achieving sustainable economic growth.

-15 ( +19 / -34 )

Good to see Japan not following the examples of countries like Australia and importing third-world immigrants en masse in order to boost economic indicators such as GDP while eroding the quality of life of legacy residents.

That said, the government would do well to make more places available in hoikuen.

-30 ( +11 / -41 )

Fighto

No it isn't . By some estimates, there could be slightly more than 50 000 000 people only by 2100. That would mean an implosion in terms of agriculture, manufacturing, retail, everything. There won't be enough people to run the country and there won't be enough people to tax to pay to run the country.

7 ( +21 / -14 )

Yeah, I’d say: “Japan’s population is down”. In more ways than one.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

That would mean an implosion in terms of agriculture, manufacturing, retail, everything.

That would eventually spell good news. When that happened, very suddenly, after the Black Death in Europe, wiping out a third of the population, the peasants became much wealthier, as they received higher wages as their skills were in higher demand. As prosperity spread, Europe then went on to lead the world in science, exploration, and political freedom.

Similarly, China's rapid rise in prosperity from came before and during its single child policy. History shows us that societies prosper when they are able to stabilize their populations. Quality over quantity.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

Not coronavirus deaths.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Recently, the security robots owned by a big security company here have been on the increase.

There are now robots in transport,packing,agriculture and manufacturing in Japan and it I s betting on these types of robots in the lower end jobs and it might only be a while longer before the unavoidable need for immigrants is precluded.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Some more context would be nice. How much bigger was this drop than recent years? Also interested to see how excess death compared to previous years. Might give a clearer picture of the true toll of covid.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Japan's population is now lower than it was in 1993. Last year it was at 1995 levels so the rate of decline now is about twice what the rate of increase was in the 90s.

As usual the people cheerleading this trend tend to ignore the fact that the population is not just getting smaller its also getting significantly older and there are a ton of problems associated with that which can't just be swept under the rug with inane happy talk about the trains being less crowded and mother nature being happier about it.

8 ( +24 / -16 )

Overworked, no increase in minimum wages in years for the working poor, no childcare for working parents, a stagnant education ‘system’(?), decreasing value of the yen, increasing consumption taxes on everyday necessities, and 15% living in poverty,…

Wanna have kids?

21 ( +35 / -14 )

Regarding "biggest drop" etc., the standard headline figure I always seem to see in news stories is the "kokumin" number that doesn't include myself and others without Japanese citizenship. This headline and article use a number including foreigners, which usually isn't given that much attention.

The foreigner number actually does matter because a much higher % of foreigners in Japan are of working age. Aside from providing necessary labour, people of working age also consume much more and use far less public services than the elderly.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

With the rising prices and declining economy it’s only going to get worse. But hey, ‘least we got those international cooperation brownie points! Ganbare Nippon!

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Pretty sure there's an "unexplainable" increase in deaths.

People cheering for the decrease in population forget the skew in the age distribution and the many problems that it'll cause in the next 100 years till the population stabilizes.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

This trend will likely accelerate. Japan's unemployment rate is already crazy low and people are working until 70 in order to qualify for a meager government pension. There is an unfair burden on working mothers and an elderly population that likes the low immigration. Without immigration foreign companies will be forced to invest elsewhere due to lack of labor.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Let's be honest ..The sun is setting on Japan.

-7 ( +14 / -21 )

The way this article is presenting this is as a problem, and somehow seem to be 'blaming' border controls. As someone has mentioned, many would prefer that we furriners don't even count in the figures, because that might suggest uncomfortable realities, like we are 'part' of the population, we are here to stay, or perish the thought, that we are a net benefit to the country. But this article seems to be almost 'blaming' foreigners being kept out as at fault for causing the biggest ever drop. So funny.

Personally, while I'd like to see steady global falls in population, the skewed demographics here will certainly cause massive hardship and social pressures on the way down. As basic services and infrastructure cannot be maintained, there are likely to be fewer and fewer trains, causing more overcrowding than ever. People at both ends of the age spectrum will suffer as providing social services like pre-school care and elder care are slashed due to lack of funds. Environmentally friendly in the end, but it will be a very painful road to walk until the society finally gets to a more balanced demographic profile.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The fall was attributed to stricter border restrictions propelled by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. 

Wait how does that work? Did they suddenly kick out 4 or 5 hundred thousand foreigners and not let new ones in?

Seriously sounds way to much like looking for an excuse to not point out a higher number of deaths and having people ask questions like " were there more covid related deaths than officially declared?"

I would like to see the full data.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

I wonder to what extent this is a result of new people not being able to enter the country.

And no, fewer people isn't good for the environment. Humanity's problem isn't that there are too many of us but how we produce and consume and our reliance on fossil fuels.

Anyway, maybe not supporting childcare, pressuring workers to work overtime in a stagnant economy and, at best, clumsy attempts to integrate people born elsewhere looks like a recipe for disaster.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

I don't see the link between demographics and border controls here since Japan is not known for welcoming foreign residents.

It's just a trend which has stages.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Dan

You are so right. Japan is now the land of the setting sun.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

population growth is not necessary while achieving sustainable economic growth.

Sustainable economic growth is oxymoronic.

As a species we want to make peace with that fact.

Ignore the ads: we're enough already.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

danToday  06:24 pm JST

Let's be honest ..The sun is setting on Japan

As much as I have questions about the above information in the article, I tend to find the above doomsday predictions regarding Japan strange.

Japan has a physical size larger than the UK with Japan being 377,915 sq km and the UK being only 243,610 sq km.

But Japan at this time has around 58 million more people.

Even if Japan's population dropped another 40 million, it would still be a very viable population and once people are living in less crowded situations the probability of just maintain a certain minimum level of population I likely.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Japan is still, by some margin, the top creditor nation in the world. Net assets per capita Japan increase as the population falls. Debtor nations, the opposite.

Given that, ultimately Japan is extremely well placed to navigate an aging and reducing population. Hopefully it’s experience will be able to teach other countries ways to manage population decline and come up with a model that doesn’t rely on endless population growth.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

fewer people isn't good for the environment. Humanity's problem isn't that there are too many of us but how we produce and consume and our reliance on fossil fuels.

Fewer people are great for the environment. The way we produce and consume is not going to change so much that we can have limitless people. All environments have limits to the populations they support - this is true of all species. And we, as a species, are overpopulating.

I also agree that living standards improved dramatically after the Plague in Europe. That said, pre-Plague Europe wasn't saddled with extravagant debt, pensions and social services. That will make the medium-term very difficult. But it would be a crime if we didn't at least learn the right lesson from that - which is to be fiscally responsible. The lesson/solution is most certainly not to produce ever more people.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

snowymountainhellToday  05:47 pm JST

Overworked, no increase in minimum wages in years for the working poor, no childcare for working parents, a stagnant education ‘system’(?), decreasing value of the yen, increasing consumption taxes on everyday necessities, and 15% living in poverty,… 

Wanna have kids?

This right here!

The state of affairs in Japan is not conducive to stimulate a growing population. Combine this with increasing income inequality and the future paints a bleak picture for a once thriving economy.

Most Japanese could care less however. Shoganai & Ganko are your words of the day.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

NosuiToday  07:10 pm JST

Japan's debt is by far owned by the Japanese themselves and not foreign countries.

Much of that debt is in government bonds owned by a rapidly aging population.

Considering a large portion of those bind holders will pass away then the government will take any earnings in interest and then inheritance the debt is quite different in reality than in paper and very different from the debts by most other developed countries.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Again 95% of Japan's Dept is owned by the Japanese public

But Japan's debt is different. It's mostly owed to the Japanese people in the form of government bonds. The Japanese government owes each of its citizens about 7.5 million yen. Since 95% of its debt is held domestically, its economy is not as precarious as it would be if it were debt to foreign countries.

https://www.lingualift.com/blog/japanese-national-debt/

Compare that to the USA where the largest portion of it's debt is owned by 5 foreign countries including Japan

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Antiquesaving - exactly and good point about people passing away.

Japan has enormous net external assets and debt is largely owed to itself. Japan’s position is excellent.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

The way we produce and consume is not going to change so much that we can have limitless people

Humanity isn't predicted to expand limitlessly. Even in "developing" countries, the population is set to peak in a few decades. I don't want to irresponsibility throw around numbers, but various calculations have shown that the Earth's resources can hold several more billion people than there are currently. But that's not possible if a big part of us live in economies that depend largely on wasteful consumption.

My point was there is nothing to celebrate about a declining population. Partly because of it's not just the sheer number of people but also those who are able to participate in society. In Japan, the main problem is aging and the fact that an ever increasing part of the population needs help, financial and caregiving.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@antiquesaving

Compare that to the USA where the largest portion of it's debt is owned by 5 foreign countries including Japan

You forget that the US can just freeze that foreign debt by sanctions... unfriendly nations

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The fall was attributed to stricter border restrictions propelled by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. The tally includes foreign nationals.

So, longer work hours, less pay, lack of raises, lack of free time, nepotism, ignorance and numerous sexual predators (but not being put on a national predators list) creeping out women weren't a part of the equation?

Odd.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

It may be a blessing in disguise depending on a personal outlook and factoring in the eminent rise of AI systems .

There are pros and cons to a declining population rate.

The new younger generation of Japanese are not as stubborn and narrow minded and thus more capable.

Quality not quantity.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Population was declining rapidly before the pandemic .

the continued border restrictions make no sense.

No foreigners weren't flocking to Japan to work and make babies.

Is this article rejoicing in the declining Population rate ?

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

While some may interpret that as 'bad' news for Japan, if the world could see the same relative decline, it would be good news for our grandchildren...

If the world greys the young that are left will be overburdened. I mean think of all those elderly that will need carrying for. It's a disaster.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It is actually very "funny" (for lack of a better term) to read some comments making it sound like the decrease in population is being "managed" by Japan (i.e. the authorities)--it's not the case! And exactly THAT is the problem.

I definitely agree that the world population needs shrinking and that it would not hurt Japan either (I'm no expert on the topic, but at face-value, well, why not?)...ONLY if it is being managed with some plan/road-map/safeguards, etc. There are none in sight! The future needs to be managed NOW, but it's not the case. One has to acknowledge a problem as a first step to solve it. Japan has firmly stuck its head in the sand.

(Full disclosure: Japan is not the only country procrastinating in this regard, but as a country with a super-aging population problem, it is the country with the least time to actually be able to do something about it. I recall that a few decades ago, when the problem started to show in Japan, countries abroad expecting the same issue at home somewhere down the road were looking up to Japan to see how Japan would handle it...Boy, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people got pretty disappointed on that one...)

Instead of serious discussions about the challenges, hurdles, but also the solutions, potential and future (which I actually strongly believe there is!) of this country, lead by experts in fields like environmental, industrial, financial, social, science, health, urban, tech, etc, etc, we end up with so-called "discussion panels" full of clueless politicians who offer nothing more than "optimism" and banzai posturing while the government burns the tax-payers' money-candle by both ends with a flame-thrower financing an ever increasing herd of white elephants and other pet projects, thus gradually robbing us of any financial leverage we may have as solutions will most likely require financial resources...actually, a LOT of financial resources...

This is akin to be at the wheel of a bright new shiny (and actually pretty safe) car...driving of a cliff, thinking "everything looks fine for the moment" or "I should be safe"...Well, see you (actually, see all of us) at the bottom of the ravine after the "landing" to talk about it..

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Population decline here is mostly due to a whole generation of citizens choosing to not have more than one or two children on average, with many having none. Many of them are now paying the price of loneliness and lack of care in thier old age and they've passed the burden of a massive national debt down to a generation far lacking in tax paying citizens. Sad.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

There's a whole army of women with no children.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Blue - You are absolutely right that it is not being well managed, but I think the best thing for the situation is for the politicians to continue to do nothing. The country can afford to muddle through.

Japan will overcome this problem in spite of itself.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Overworked, no increase in minimum wages in years for the working poor, no childcare for working parents, a stagnant education ‘system’(?), decreasing value of the yen, increasing consumption taxes on everyday necessities, and 15% living in poverty,…

Wanna have kids?"

Spot on...let LDP form another panel ( for a hundredths time ) to study as nausea why people are not having kids and birthrate bus declining.

Dan , you are so right. Japan is now the land of the setting sun."

Absolutely, the sun is setting slowly and surely......just enjoy the good things that are left , mainlyJ-food , drinks and the opposite sex while it lasts.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

@Nosui

Blue - You are absolutely right that it is not being well managed, but I think the best thing for the situation is for the politicians to continue to do nothing. The country can afford to muddle through.

Japan will overcome this problem in spite of itself.

Thanks for the feedback.

Actually, it is an interesting point: can / will Japan be able to weather it off...or not? No idea. Nobody knows, I guess...?

But, I think we can all (or at least most of us) agree that by doing nothing we are making it more difficult later down the road.

I'm 51. I have what, 20 years, 30, 40 tops left. I tend to believe that I...will...be...fine...But wife's kids, my friends' kids...No, not a chance.

If you ask them (I did ask through their parents): kids currently in high school, university or having recently started to work do not expect a pension-scheme to take care of them during "life after work", currently none of them seems to party in any way and most seem to refrain from spending too much on, well, anything or go for whatever is cheaper (all argue that pocket money is not enough lol). It's a completely different world from my youth in the 80s...(except for the pocket-money thing, lol again)

Even if a boyfriend/girlfriend or currently in a "serious"-looking relationship, "no kids" is their plan. If asked, they're unsure whether social security during "life while working" will still be there...There was frankly not much optimism in the responses that I got...Parents were genuinely anxious for their kids and planned on leaving them with "as much as they possibly could".

So, Japan may be able to weather it off. But why making it harder than it needs to be? 3 generations ago did Japan need to start again from scratch. They did succeed but it was hard, wasn't it? Why does it have to look like the next generation(s) are to somehow having to start from scratch (yet) again? When they will ask for answers: "because some people didn't want to be bothered" will not cut it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Smith -

You mean evacuees not refugees .

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Well the Japanese government hasn't a clue about most things.

They want more children but refuse to pay properly for IVF, permit egg donation, sperm donation, birth is not covered by insurance, schools isn't free especially high school which isn't even guaranteed.

But hey they expect people to have more children!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Want growth in pop. because of concerns of inadequate care for current pop. as they are aging, need sustainable economy to foot bill for retirees, ain't it the reason? Granted we all must take care of each other, but, what are incentives for expected parents to bring more lives to the world that provide little supports but problems to be taken care of such as aging, pollution, war, and super rich few own nearly everything? Stay busy perfecting life-like robots.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They want more children but refuse to pay properly for IVF, permit egg donation, sperm donation, birth is not covered by insurance, schools isn't free especially high school which isn't even guaranteed.

You really need young people in charge, not old men, they have no clue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Is there any good Japanese leader that can ban immigration and make education for Japanese free, and give tax cuts to Japanese couples based on number of kids? Japanese right wing and left wing both feels like anti-japanese. None can be trusted. What to do in future?

I want some strong leader to ban immigration and provide tremendous benefits to married Japanese and Japanese with kids.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

If you increase salary of Japanese men, stop overwork of Japanese men and reduce dispatch unregular employees from 40% of total employees and make them full time employees population decline will slow in 1 year. Banning immigration especially for outsider men should also be considered besides these. But Japanese government right wing in name has no clue. Left wing is also hopeless. There is not a single party in Japan thinking about Japanese people's future.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

too much pressure to be succesful and western influence.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Was Japan's mortality rate down again in 2021?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't see the link between demographics and border controls here since Japan is not known for welcoming foreign residents.

Every year about 1.4 million Japanese die. Far fewer are born - about 850,000.

Few foreigners have entered Japan to live for a couple of years and many have left.

The mathematics is pretty simple.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Interesting to learn these numbers now. Contrast with the low number of Covid cases pre-Olympics.

Makes one wonder if those were accurate.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Right, once again, blame the lack of unwanted and undesired foreigners for the alarming drop in numbers.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Rainyday

As usual the people cheerleading this trend tend to ignore the fact that the population is not just getting smaller its also getting significantly older and there are a ton of problems associated with that which can't just be swept under the rug with inane happy talk about the trains being less crowded and mother nature being happier about it.

Interesting comment. The "cheerleaders" provide specific facts and reasons for their argument, whereas you do not.

"A ton of problems"? Like what? And are they worse than the eventual destruction of the planet?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Excellent news, over population and over tourism is a massive problem here.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Given how everything is getting worse, globally - shortages, inflation, poverty, war, covid, climate change - it is difficult to see a logical justification for dragging an additional human into the world to suffer what lies ahead.

Amused by the calls for government to 'manage' this. Would that be by forcibly impregnating women to increase the population, or forcibly sterilising them to reduce it? I think we should be told.

Japan keeps the genders apart quite a bit more than the West and doesn't approve of youthful 'fraternisation'. It had one of the highest ages of majority, although that is being tweaked. Although many Japanese women are feeling a bit more empowered, they may not be finding single Japanese men to be as progressive as they want them to be, so they are choosing greater independence, a career and a fur baby instead. Better than looking after the aged in-laws as an unpaid skivvy/carer. Many Japanese men are happy with their oshi, their hobbies and maybe the occasional bit of paid stress relief. Why complicate that utopian lifestyle with a wife? Life was expensive and is going to get more expensive - is the risk of chaining yourself to a partner who might drink or gamble or worse, worth the effort? Divorce is slow, messy and expensive, which doesn't help.

The sealed borders suggest a risk averse nation, and the default for the risk averse is to stay single and retain control of your life and your finances, rather than compromise that control in a partnership.

Andy - I don't think 'over tourism' is a massive problem in Japan anymore, as there aren't any now. I guess they could reduce numbers a bit more by not renewing the contracts of foreign workers. How many would you like to see go?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think allowing dual citizenship might boost some of Japan's population numbers and allow the government to tax new citizens who work in Japan, recruit workers who have family ties to Japan, and boost the options of dual nationals to stay in Japan (instead of being forced to choose...) since Japan is risk averse, maybe this could be a partial solution and a way to adapt to the current issue and a way to partially address the declining population numbers and future workforce issue.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So the Japanese population in Japan is under 123 million. 600,000 more deaths than births.

A declining population for many years and no sign of that changing. In less than 50 years there will be under 100 million Japanese in Japan.

Something needs to change just to stabilize the Japanese population and have births equal or surpass deaths.

More babies. Bigger families. Encourage marriage over living a single life for all your life. Real tangible incentives. Zero income tax for fathers for the first ten years of a child's life. Have a second child when the first is five or younger and the ten years starts over.

New incentives must be thought of to help families deal with the daily costs of raising a family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Rob Nads

Don’t blame so call third world immigrants as if you aren’t being part of the problem! If you weren’t born in Japan what makes you think you aren’t part of the problem. Oh i get it, you are an immigrant, but not from the so call low wrong third world countries so you feel you can justify your acceptance! SOY the brown kind

Good to see Japan not following the examples of countries like Australia and importing third-world immigrants en masse in order to boost economic indicators such as GDP while eroding the quality of life of legacy residents.

That said, the government would do well to make more places available in hoikuen.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Leo Kurono ok I get it you want to stop the over working of Japanese men. I agree but the cultural mindset has a lot to do with that change. LMFAO do you think banning foreign men also will help. Sounds like a guy with a inferiority complex. It’s one inevitable but sooner or later Japanese will become foreigners in Japan when this happens this will bring about change. The birth rate will come back but it will be due to the fact of Japanese marrying foreigners this will bring on a different mindset and course of change in japan.

If you increase salary of Japanese men, stop overwork of Japanese men and reduce dispatch unregular employees from 40% of total employees and make them full time employees population decline will slow in 1 year. Banning immigration especially for outsider men should also be considered besides these. But Japanese government right wing in name has no clue. Left wing is also hopeless. There is not a single party in Japan thinking about Japanese people's future

0 ( +2 / -2 )

 LMFAO do you think banning foreign men also will help. Sounds like a guy with a inferiority complex. 

EXACTLY!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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