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Japan's population falls to 126.22 mil in 2020; drops out of top 10 in world

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Great news. Japan is heavily over-populated.

26 ( +43 / -17 )

This is something to celebrate.

The data adds pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government to try to slow the population decline...

Why?

14 ( +26 / -12 )

Less people is much better overall for the world. Less strain on resources and the planet.

22 ( +35 / -13 )

Unlike the race to the bottom in wages and incomes, this is a race to the bottom the world needs as there are just too many humans driving the world past the ecological boundaries. Finally Japan in showing the kind of global leadership other nations need to follow.

1 ( +19 / -18 )

My bet is that there are more mixed Japanese | Internationals being born in America and other countries. Many of my friends are Japanese women who got married to internationals and having children abroad.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

My bet is that there are more mixed Japanese | Internationals being born in America and other countries. Many of my friends are Japanese women who got married to internationals and having children abroad.

So? That doesnt automatically make them Japanese! There have been "mixed" Japanese being born all over the world for a number of generations now, and they are never counted in the census.

So what point are you trying to make?

Having children abroad is one thing, them being Japanese is something totally different!

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Japan (Suga and Co) don't like "dropping" statistically in anything!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This is not going to be reversed unless a huge reform that makes having children much easier is not done. Even with the huge difficulty it has it is probably easier to reform the pension system not to depend this much on having more young people.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

No need for policies or media outcry, this is good Japan is really crowded. I read a research paper that if Japan had to feed and support its own people the islands naturally can support around 52 million people. 126m is just too many for those islands.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

126.22 still TOO many.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Yet it’s still very difficult to get that vaccine shot.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

At least I now know I can work till I die before I collect my pension or as Japanese say,girigiri made hataraku zo.minna ganbatte,gaman shimashou.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Great news. The world in general is way too over populated, but Japan takes overpopulation to the extreme. We could do with 90% less people on Earth. This would ensure the future of our precious planet.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Couples are not doing the deed and making children ..That's fine ..Why should they ? !

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Really promising news to wake up to.

Japan is taking the course of depopulation, and showing it can be done whilst maintaining a great standard of living.

In coming years, house prices will become much more affordable due to lack of demand; it will be easier for students to enter any college of their choice; getting a seat on the train will be no problem; there will be far less pollution; hospital beds will be plentiful, and so on.

My dream is to retire to Akita which is depopulating fastest. It would be so peaceful to live with no-one else around for many kilometres!

The benefits of having a lower population are endless.

Dont listen to the greedy capitalists who argue otherwise.

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

Japan is taking the course of depopulation, and showing it can be done whilst maintaining a great standard of living.

Great standard of living? Nowhere near to what it used to be, and is falling faster and faster.

Japan is far from being utopia, and has many great things about it, but until you take the blinders off your eyes you are never going to see the problems that lie just under the surface! Unemployment, instability of the work force, disintegrating social infrastructure, incompetent leadership, and a host of other things, are dragging this country down.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

So? That doesnt automatically make them Japanese!

Actually it does. The child of a Japanese national does automatically become a Japanese national even if they are born abroad (provided the parents notify the government) and even if the other parent is a foreign national.

They don’t become a Japanese resident who would be counted in the census of course, but they do become Japanese.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Really promising news to wake up to.

You are operating on some very shaky assumptions about what the effects of depopulation will be. Let me unpack the reality on each of them.

In coming years, house prices will become much more affordable due to lack of demand;

This is unlikely to be a benefit. House prices in depopulating areas are already approaching zero anyway since the market is factoring in the fact that they will no longer be habitable in the future as those communities collapse. Sure you can get a shack for free, but without any water, electric or road infrastructure being maintained to it you won’t be able to actually live in it.

House prices in major cities in contrast won’t come down since that is where everyone is fleeing to.

it will be easier for students to enter any college of their choice

Maybe, this is already happenning in fact. But over time it will be unsustainable to keep the current number of universities, and many will be closing, thus reducing choice.

Also there is a cost to society to having fewer young people entering universities.

getting a seat on the train will be no problem

No, the train companies will just run fewer trains and you’ll have even more difficulty finding a seat. Ever tried taking a train from a town that has lost a huge chunk of its population? In many of them you can’t, since the train company response to that decline was to shut the line down. Train companies aren’t charities, if they have fewer passengers they cut service.

there will be far less pollution*

I hope this is the case, but if it is it will be because we have switched to clean energy sources and enacted other policies, not because the population went down. We’ve already had over a decade of population decline without any notable impact on pollution.

hospital beds will be plentiful

This is pure fantasy. We are heading towards an older, greyer population which will put greater rather than fewer demands on the medical system. Hospital beds will be scarcer.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Great news. Hopefully Japan doesn't resort to measures such as those taken by my home country Australia like importing a large population of immigrants from third-world countries to boost GDP numbers.

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

The data adds pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government to try to slow the population decline in the world's third-largest economy

Yeah, let's form another panel and hold some meetings to discuss this issue ...after all the govt has only been discussing it for about 20 years. Can't expect the geriatrics to come up with any pro-active, result oriented policies in such a short time , can we?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Its wild how so few on this thread solely think a decline is good, it CAN be but in Japan it is clearly NOT NOT NOT!!

Look at Rainydays post where its correctly NAILED, Japan is in for very severe pain

its HOW repeat HOW a countrys population declines, LOOK at a J-population pyramid for the reality, use this link to see what Japan is truly headed for!!

Population-pyramid-of-Japan-1950-2007-and-2050.png (818×465) (researchgate.net)

In the future even if Japans birthrate approaches 2 or even 3 it will still decline because there are so few young being born NOW!!!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

It’s never really been the population it’s that for work half the people seem to live in 10% of the space.

maybe if companies allowed reimbursement for bullet train commuting? I don’t feel comfortable enough about the future of work from home in Japan to actually move.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It was 80 million during ww2. It doesnt seem like a big deal.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

...drop of 6.2 percent in Akita, northeastern Japan.

Guys !! The women in Akita are beauties to behold. If you are single and feel compelled by some inner dimension to be " charitable " in helping the situation in Japan, please head to the north of Kanto, find yourself an Akita no bijin and be fruitful. Japan will thank you.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Whilst it is true that the world population would benefit from being smaller, the pace at which japans population is declining is worrisome.

If we continue on this path then within a few decades nearly half the population will be pensioners, which is unsustainable.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The photos says it all about quality of life.

91% of people in Japan live in cities, which are way too crowded.

Falling population is very positive for society and the earth - whatever the short term problems there may be during the transition.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Population decline, a sign of a declining society losing its soul.

Any society that views children as a financial or other type of burden is shooting itself in the foot.

Who is going to support the 1/3rd of the population that is aged? Rather than be a help, this trend will end in financial and societal disaster. Common sense Japanese and even Chinese leadership realise this and that is why they are trying to reverse the trend.

Children are and always will be a blessing both personally and societally. They are the future and without them there is no future.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Wow, and 20 years ago nobody saw this coming, right? Wrong.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Falling population is very positive for society and the earth - whatever the short term problems there may be during the transition.

What I find so troubling about this attitude (the fewer people the better) is not just that it brushes aside the very serious and real problems depopulation poses to people (like my own children) living in this society. Its that the logic behind it can so easily be used to justify truly horrible things.

Here half the people in the comments are blithely cheering on the fact that there are fewer Japanese people in the world because fewer humans is better. This is a natural decline, but where does this stupid logic end? If a war starts and millions of people are killed are we supposed to start viewing that as great for the planet because fewer people is better? How about genocides? Fewer people is better, so are they to be welcomed too? And how will this obnoxious idea affect our political discourse in the coming decades as we have to deal with the effects of climate change and the stress that will put on the world? Fewer people is better will certainly make declaring war on other countries and massacering their people to take over their resources a much easier sell for despots that is for sure. We do have historical precedents to look at and they are not pretty.

And hey, its such a simple idea it basically sells itself, great! Meanwhile those of us who actually give a crap about the problems in the world have to cope with the complexity of those problems and solutions thereto, which are also complex and much harder to fit into a simple “fewer people is better” motto that everyone can chant in unision every time an article like this appears.

These are dangerous delusions you people are toying around with.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

The global mindset is so capitalistic: more people, more growth, more gdp = success.

This is just the ultra rich and powerful playing simulation games with the population to give them more money and power.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

An infamously cramped, expensive, and overworked country is full of people who don't have the space, money, or time for kids. Rinse and repeat.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What I find so troubling about this attitude (the fewer people the better

A continuous growing population is unsustainable for humankind and the planet.

Your logic is based on fear, power and nationalism. Let’s have the most people, so we can be the most powerful country. There is only bad outcome to that.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The current reality of depopulation is in the natural outcome of the course of events in the past 30 + years.

The crash of Japan's bubble economy and ensuing of the decades long recession. A whole generation was largely cut our of the workforce. People didn't marry, and if they did they were not secure enough to want children.

Urban society creases fewer children due to lack of space, lack of communal family help.

Those are two big reasons. Childless couples have more money and more time.

Companies are also less able to exploit people because of less babies growing up to be workers.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The child of a Japanese national does automatically become a Japanese national even if they are born abroad (provided the parents notify the government) and even if the other parent is a foreign national.

Provided they APPLY, not just notify!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"A society that even questions the need to have children is already dead." Oswald Spengler

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@rainyday

Well said. Celebrating the decrease of a certain population can easily lead to eugenics. Not accusing anyone, just pointing out what people you might find yourself arguing with.

Population decline is never something to be happy about. There are enough resources to support the current world population. The problem is how we use them. Consumerism and the drive for constant economic growth are the problem. And Japan, despite its decreasing population, is one of the main culprits. But that's not because it has 'too many people'. It's because it's a large capitalist economy dependent on mindless and irresponsible production to keep its economy going.

More lonely elderly people and burnt-out childless office workers are not part of a solution to that.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

nice result of government "profamily policy".

great Suga,what do you think?

but yes lets care abt LBGT things now...what a ....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Couples are not doing the deed and making children ..That's fine ..Why should they ? !

Starbucks lattes, Louis Vuitton handbags and social media posts are not going to keep you company when you are 70, grey, wrinkly and start to have health issues. 3rd wave feminism has sold you an awful lie Abbey. Sex and the city wasn't an instruction manual, it was fiction.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Provided they APPLY, not just notify!

In reality its a bit more complex than either of us have made out. If the mother is a Japanese national, then the child is automatically Japanese and they just need to notify. If the father is Japanese, then it depends on whether he has acknowledged the child. This is presumed when the parents are married, so in that case they also just need to notify, but if they aren’t married and the father hasn’t acknowledged the child, then the child has to apply instead of just notifying.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Fighto!Today 09:04 am JST

Japan is taking the course of depopulation, and showing it can be done whilst maintaining a great standard of living.

In coming years, house prices will become much more affordable due to lack of demand; it will be easier for students to enter any college of their choice; getting a seat on the train will be no problem; there will be far less pollution; hospital beds will be plentiful, and so on.

My dream is to retire to Akita which is depopulating fastest. It would be so peaceful to live with no-one else around for many kilometres!

The benefits of having a lower population are endless.

Slow decline of the population in Japan is a good thing, plenty of land is not suitable for living, just small islands, forests etc. Too many people within this small island nation.

Standard of living in Japan is not bad if comparing it with other countries in Asia.

However I doubt if any housing in the few large cities will become cheaper, many people have to work for a living and you cannot find good jobs somewhere in rural areas.

Retirement - if your allowance is good - is a different matter, I agree with you - after my retirement we moved from crowded Central Tokyo to the outskirts of Okayama-City, the best decision we ever made... good air and clean water, total silence all night, river and hills with forests nearby in walking distance, average housing prices are about 3 to 5 times cheaper than in Tokyo...but there are few jobs here, all are low paid and not stable, like part time work in elderly care homes or some seasonal jobs in the fields...

The decline of the population is not balanced well.

I see no change about that in near future, cities will remain crowded and population in rural areas may decline further.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

YubaruToday 09:10 am JST

Great standard of living? Nowhere near to what it used to be, and is falling faster and faster.

Japan is far from being utopia, and has many great things about it, but until you take the blinders off your eyes you are never going to see the problems that lie just under the surface! Unemployment, instability of the work force, disintegrating social infrastructure, incompetent leadership, and a host of other things, are dragging this country down.

I hear you, you are not wrong, but is it really so much different in other Asian countries? Not many countries here around Japan which are doing better.

Western countries have also their problems, USA with its homeless people, race-related riots, prison population etc. Or check out suburbs around London and Paris...with their no-go zones and street crimes.

Still not so bad here in Japan...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What is this great standard of living that people keep mentioning in regards to Japan?

I had a much more satisfying standard of living when I was living in UK, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong and even South Korea

4 ( +9 / -5 )

The point is that a certain kind of refinement, of learning/intelligence if you prefer, is correlated with low fertility. So the very white-collar bourgeois people who all use birth control as a matter of course or just forego sex entirely is "materialism," but specifically, the following of the recommended-daily-dose of materialism.

Everything is now mediated by language & screens, there is very little in modern urban life that might induce an adrenal response. The animal in us has been forgotten and replaced by the totally "rational man" -- who then reasons himself out of having children, for instance ("because we can't afford it," etc.)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Leading to hell when you have no one to care about you in your old days.

I am a social being and if a small decline can be with no consequence, Japan is going for 1 mimlion inhabitants less per year ! With 1/3 of population over 65 soon.

Any idea the money it needs to maintain people in good health ?

People, haven't you read that some where to let die of covid alone in their homes this year ? Who wants that even to your enemy ?

That is what is going Japan for factually.

No pride to reproduce, no future.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Japan needs less not more people!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Japan needs more younger people paying taxes so the old get their pensions.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

zichiToday 01:54 pm JST

Japan needs more younger people paying taxes so the old get their pensions.

OK boomer

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Why is this news anyway!? It's a known fact. Foreigners are going to pour in to cover the slack of manpower. We have greater concerns to handle with than spend time on this.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

A couple decades a prime minister Koizumi loosened up employment rules, so now lots of young people don't have full time jobs with bonuses etc. They are too poor or have an income that is too stable to marry and have kids. Take care of that!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@zichi

I appreciate the realism in your sarcasm

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Less people is much better overall for the world. Less strain on resources and the planet.

The world's population is increasing though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a world wide phenomenon (check if you don't believe me). Women have choices. That, urbanization, and economic stability. And as women have better access to education, they prioritise careers over having children.

Good luck trying to reverse the trend. The Japanese government should accept it and implement policy that reflects a change in demographies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It’s for good as earth is reaching its full gvw so population decline is good thing for the world next china will contribute to further decline in world population bt dont know when Indias population will start to decline to further contribute for optimal smooth functioning of the world

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As usual, people are celebrating without understanding the nature and conseqences of the decline (or perhaps simply ignoring it to feel better?). The decline won't be good for Japan.

Also, it's quite naive to think you Tokyo-ites will feel the effects of this any time soon. The depopulation is primarily happening in other regions of the country, whilst the remaining people are all packing themselves in the capital.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

good news for the planet if you consider the ecological footprint of a japanese

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@JeffLee

The population decline is not something to celebrate. Japan is on a death spiral to a population crash, where the fecundity rate is below the replacement rate. With this uncontrollable decline, Japan’s economy will invariably suffer and the society with not have enough young, working adults to maintain a robust society.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

fault of the politicians.. children as a financial burden.. ecological impact.. lesser is better.. world population is growing however.. cost of houses.. escape from countryside.. yes yes... it's all true. Anyway, at the end, it is a choice that belongs only to women and we can't blame them. If you need to ask someone for something they don't want, you've already lost.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There can be no argument with the fact that as a species we are way too many for any long term sustainable population or for resource usage to sustain our current level of technological society, unless there is a steady reduction in population there will be a societal and technological crash as climate change and resource depletion strangles our economies and societies which will lead to a population crash through violence, starvation and disease. If that is the legacy you wish upon your children then yes encourage more and more population growth for short sighted gains.

Any social inconveniences from a reducing population will be vastly preferable to the alternatives.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

In contrary, that’s very bad news, for Japan and for the globe. Think again, who will finally remain and will those remaining be capable of handling it? No, in both cases not. Japan can’t exist if there are only some seniors left and the world can’t exist civilized if only those remain who have already now fast growing populations and a multiple number of newborns they can’t even provide a single meal a day. It’s not so difficult to understand, how that all will develop and to what situations it will culminate to, or still is it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am stunned, astonished that contributors to this site could fail to even comprehend the relationship, the link between the basic provision for essential financing for the welfare states, and the devastating consequences, of depopulation, the demographics and effects.

OK lets start here.......2015.....

Work-Centered Welfare for the Twenty-First Century......

https://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a04203/

Next 2014 …..........This is 7 years ago.....

Ageing and Depopulation in Japan:

Understanding the Consequences for East and Southeast Asia

in the 21st Century.....

First, rural locales are now widely recognized as being hyper-aged societies lacking the means to sustainably reproduce their own populations such that communities are declining in vitality and, in increasing numbers, even collapsing and disappearing altogether.

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/29030679.pdf

Now..........

Consideration of Social Security Objectives and Functions …....

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/www1/english/wp_5/vol1/p1c1s1.html

Start/ scroll down to.......

Figure 1-1-3. Changes in the Social Security Benefit Expenditure ….... This is 1996.....

Can you even imagine the consequences in 2021.

I won't go into the trend analysis that de-population and low birth rate has on the enhancement for/of childcare support (childcare provision).....yet

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan needs more younger people paying taxes so the old get their pensions.

That is it in a nutshell. There is other stuff to consider, but this simplifies the logical necessity between birth rate and welfare provision.

I am the youngest person in my community, ok there is not many. But seriously I am. And they are all farmers.

I am helping out on weekends. I am frightened some might keel over on there tractors, My neighbors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We've been reading for 40 years about Japan sinking into the sea from debt, deflation and a declining population. All of it written by agenda motivated people who are parroting what the banks want, what real estate people want and what the government wants.

You can manage growth and you can manage negative growth.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes Peter, the the reality is here on the ground, every member of my family under 30 has upped and moved to Osaka, they think the streets are paved with gold.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Welcome to urban Japan. Tight and expensive apartment. Expensive schools. A concrete world that has little place for children. On top of that, the decades long residue of the burst economic bubble starting from c. 1990. This is not a world for children to be born.

Guess which prefecture has the highest birthrate. Okinawa.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well the con-census by the expats on here is that it’s a GOOD THING, so maybe it’s the politicians that are out of touch, it certainly helped CHINA to have 500,000 less , look at them now !

Its no longer all about the humans, it’s more about the biosphere

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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