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Japan's population drops at record pace in 2019

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If the population continues to fall, there will be vacant land and price falls that people from outside of Japan who see the value of clean water and beautiful nature will come in pursuit of these vacuum zones.

Is the shrinking more related to fertility decline or the ballooning cost of child rearing?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I think 2020 is about to say " hold my beer and watch this" to 2019! The numbers will been much worse this time next year.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This article is confusing me...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As always much ado about nothing. Over 120 million Japanese in an area a fraction of the size of the U.S.

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

If the population continues to fall, there will be vacant land and price falls that people from outside of Japan who see the value of clean water and beautiful nature will come in pursuit of these vacuum zones.

there already is PLENTY of vacant land and price falls. Some of it even bordering Tokyo like in Yamanashi Prefecture and Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture. The problem is lack of adequate transportation which makes living there and commuting daily to Tokyo VERY difficult.

Is the shrinking more related to fertility decline or the ballooning cost of child rearing?

A combination of many factors, but this is hardly particular to Japan. The whole of the developed world is experiencing what Japan is experiencing. Even some countries that are not developed are experiencing below replacement levels.  The difference is that Japan doesn't have immigration and that is what is causing the population decline.

The bottom is a link to an excellent discussion about the world's population decline.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYZPTaV-RcQ

I think 2020 is about to say " hold my beer and watch this" to 2019! The numbers will been much worse this time next year.

Absolutely.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I don’t see the long term problem. Higher pension and health expenses compensated by no unemployment and lower property prices and much higher quality of life. Japan is one of the 3 most beautiful countries in the world, time Japanese people start to enjoy that more, play less videogames , ration the manga and cosplay and enjoy real instead of virtual life. And finally stop their plastic mania.

I love it here, take the bad with the good, but all of us should be happy to live in Japan, Yes, we can complain about what is not good as long as we contribute to correct that.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

In a country that does nothing really to help hikikomori, people who have to quit their jobs and give up THEIR lives to take care of their parents, where boys and girls are instructed (not told) to not socialize with each other in elementary, junior and high school which creates a fear of each other will result in instances like this. So basically....you reap what you sow!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Don't worry. There will be an uptick this year with so many (though probably not enough) people staying at home with nothing better to do than, well, you know.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This article is a little confusing.

The Japanese population fell 487,000 to 123.73 million. So it means that the population is 123.73 millions and not 126.17 million.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Hahahhaha

Don't worry next year it will drop more than this not only population but the economy too...

Hope one day the japanese will understand the basic mistake for all these is the 40 year old working culture ,,,, work for 10 to 15 hours the population will increase

Most of the countrys are giving importants to their peoples personal life...here

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That’s alright, it can’t get any worse, right Abe? Just as long as company presidents and politicians keep getting paid, who cares?

coronavirus? No problem. It’s not real, just a phase.

Tokyo centric life? Hey, everywhere else is boring and are too country, why venture out and help struggling areas with more business? Nah.....

outdated thinking? Never. We’ve always thought that way.....

and last and certainly least, work first mentality, family and fun dead last? Yes please!

will japan never learn?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

@AMS

126.17million includes non-Japanese people who are living here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In good news, it means GDP per capita is going up more than GDP.

Two in seven over 65 and one of them over 75. That creates many challenges.

Is the shrinking more related to fertility decline or the ballooning cost of child rearing?

The main factors since the 1970s are people marrying later or not at all, and women working more. Rather than the cost of child rearing ballooning, mens' wages have fallen in real terms, so children just seem more expensive. Japanese university fees, the biggest cost, has not changed.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As always much ado about nothing. Over 120 million Japanese in an area a fraction of the size of the U.S.

Yeah, who cares about the economy anyway, right?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As always much ado about nothing. Over 120 million Japanese in an area a fraction of the size of the U.S.

I don't mean to be blunt, but you do understand basic economics, yes?

The issue is not the absolute population number per se. It is the combination of the following: 1) the population is declining and doing so on an accelerated basis, 2) the demographic mix is changing quickly and the elderly / retired are making up an increasing percentage of the population, and 3) the shift in the population from more rural areas into more urban areas continues.

The combination of these three factors has SEVERE consequences for Japan over the next 50 years. SEVERE!

First, as the population ages, there will be fewer working age, tax-paying individuals supporting a system that is burdened by a growing elderly class. Who pays for this? How do they pay? The implications for taxes are staggering.

Second, as rural Japan continues to depopulate, how are the citizens in rural areas, who are generally elderly, taken care of? How do they receive public services? Who pays for public services? Who provides general services in areas where demand does not support private business?

Finally, Japan's infrastructure has been sized to support a country of 120+ million. Based on the historical urban / rural mix. It is in no way configured to handle a Japan where the population is less than 100 million concentrated primarily in urban centers.

At some point, it will work itself out. It is inevitable. But the next 40~50 years could well be horrendous for Japan and those that live here.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Few here still don't see the Japans population is NOT declining it is PLUMMETING!!

Key numbers

35million old folks, 12million young, so those older folks will mostly been gone in 20yrs time, meanwhile the number of young will slowly or NOT so slowly DECREASE from 12million.

So in about 20yrs Japan will be around 90million AT BEST! Could be quite a bit lower & STILL plummeting downwards. The population pyramid his heading towards becoming a needle, then disappear at present.

Japan has many problems, work ""culture"" being the biggest problem, its so bad in fact many Japanese do not understand or comprehend being able to enjoy life. Couple (pun intended) that with crappy wages & high small costs of living & a couple big cities SUCKING the country dry of its people & you have a incredibly DIM FUTURE, that is Japan.

The ONLY way to stem this is MASSIVE immigration, which Japan is loath to do, over time more & more from 3rd world countries will have less & less reason to come here.

The future is NOT good, its sadly the opposite of good, & that is where we are at

9 ( +10 / -1 )

If the population continues to fall, there will be vacant land and price falls that people from outside of Japan who see the value of clean water and beautiful nature will come in pursuit of these vacuum zones.

As Ally rightfully noted as well there is plenty of land available now. Problem with your theory though is that the Japanese government is already facing problems of foreign interests purchasing open land, that has water resources attached, and the plans are to take that water and export to their home country!

Japan has extremely limited natural resources, and arable, livable, land space, it can literally not afford to allow foreign interests to purchase that land and see their resources taken.

The other reason your theory wont hold much is the increabile increases in taxes over the years. People used to buy 100 tsubo lots, in many places, NOT Tokyo, and build their houses, now you can see people putting up houses on less than 1/3 that, because the taxes are a killer.

With a declining tax base there is no way in hell the government is going to lower taxes, hence people will be unable to purchase land to build on.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It's astonishing that some people still don't seem to understand what's happening in Japan.

The Death of Regional Cities, the 2014 report by Prof. Hiroya Masuda, explains clearly what is happening now and what will happen in the near future. It's bleak beyond words and it's only going to get worse.

https://www.japanpolicyforum.jp/politics/pt20140120152454.html

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The quality of life for most people would be improved if the population fell to the point that Japan could sustain itself with its own products and agriculture. The only reason the government wants a large population is that the size ofg the economy gives them prestige they don't deserve. When was the last time the Japanese government made a significant contribution to international policy or improved the lives of people elsewhere?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

expat Today  12:12 pm JST

What counts as a "significant contribution" to international policy? At the very least, Japan hasn't started a bunch of little wars in Islamic countries it can't even finish. On the human rights front, I do have to point out that Japan is still relatively liberal and you can get away with saying things you can't in the likes of Europe which is getting increasingly PC and thus cracking down. What restrictions are there are primarily the result of gaiatsu (Westerners who self righteously preech like a peacock about banning this and banning that). You don't hear anything like the excessively powerful Muslim community.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Government has no interest in improving anyone's lives other then their own, let alone it's own citizens. When representatives represent 20 people dressed in garbage bags...they won't even raise an eyebrow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A positive trend. Japan's living standards have been rising and GDP per capita are in line with OECD norms.

Most of the countries that top the global scale on socio-economic conditions have small populations and/or low population growth. The worst countries are ones with high birthrates/fast-growing populations.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

A positive trend. Japan's living standards have been rising and GDP per capita are in line with OECD norms.

Wisely argued, Jeff Lee. I don't see the need for alarm with any country that can still function well - and improve living standards - with a falling population.

Environment will be healthier. It'll be easy to get seats on a train and rooms in a hotel. Even hospital beds will become easier to access. Its a win-win, and many other nations would be wise to adopt Japans population policy, and not simply try to grow, grow, grow. Endless growth is not sustainable.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

If the Jgov continues to ignore the severity of the Covid19 pandemic, we will see something even more drastic this year and next year.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A positive trend. Japan's living standards have been rising and GDP per capita are in line with OECD norms.

What...… are you serious, the countries living standard has been in free fall for 30+yrs now.....young people have very little to look forward too!! The countryside is being emptied into a few cities & this is good....do explain, I really want to know.

Wisely argued, Jeff Lee. I don't see the need for alarm with any country that can still function well - and improve living standards - with a falling population.

Environment will be healthier. It'll be easy to get seats on a train and rooms in a hotel. Even hospital beds will become easier to access. Its a win-win, and many other nations would be wise to adopt Japans population policy, and not simply try to grow, grow, grow. Endless growth is not sustainable.

Fighto,

Japan's population is starting to plummet, NOT decrease, there is a HUGE difference! I agree on endless growth, that clearly is NOT sustainable. As for Japans living ""quality"" it too is in major decline, the big cities continue to grow & quality decrease, the country side is being left in a garbage dump like state, farmers are almost all 65+years old

Japan HAS NO population policy!!! It just kicks a can down the road, time & time again!! The future sadly is bleak as hell in Japan, babies are quickly becoming a rare sighting, the country is not sustainably declining it is DYING!! Huge difference.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In the short term, it may hurt, but in the long term, it will be better for the planet and the people. Why on earth would any sane person think it's ok to have an ever-increasing world population? How can the quality of life get better when resources are strained and the environment being destroyed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

...the countries living standard has been in free fall for 30+yrs now

No way. Housing, infrastructure and a host of other measures in Japan have vastly improved over the past 30 years, unlike many other developed countries. Pundits have pointed out that Japan's per capita GDP growth was higher than the US's during a big span of the "lost generation" years.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Quality of life sucks, work, housing, taxes crippling, lack of adequate services. Poor if any representation. Opaque decision making. Might have been improvement in the last 30 years, but compared to other countries that improvement was started at a very low baseline or has creeped very slowly. Every first world second world nation I been too is more productive, has happier people. And a positive outlook.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People with higher educations and/or a higher quality of life tend to have fewer children. They either want to pursue the career first or their passions. Having children might mean sacrificing all of that.

Usually, the opposite is true for people with lower education and lower quality of life. It could be access to healthcare, ignorance, culture, or lack of opportunity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cricky 

"....lack of adequate services....."

I really dont know what you're talking about. There are more medical and dental clinics in my Tokyo neighborhood than any other business or service. Dozens and dozens. This year so far, I waited five minutes to see a dentist, located a 10 minute walk from my house. I waited 10 minutes for a doctor's consultation on the results of my annual physical. I waited 7 minutes at the ward office to receive 5 years of my tax records. And so on, and so on.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

 There are more medical and dental clinics in my Tokyo neighborhood than any other business or service. Dozens and dozens

Yeah and a hell of a lot damn good they are doing in the current situation!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The problem is when there are not enough workers to support your pension after you retire

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@GW

THIS is how you are measuring quality of life,

I was reacting to a post that claimed that Japan's low birthrate has led to insufficient public and other services. LOL. Sorry, that's just not the case.

The problem is when there are not enough workers to support your pension after you retire

When the Japanese govt pays a pension, it presses a button that electronically credits your account. Viola. Japan can never run out of that yen, because it's the world's sole issuer, and despite government deficits, the yen remains strong and stable, both at home and globally.

>

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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