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Japan's population marks steepest decline ever

73 Comments

Japan's population in 2014 marked its steepest decline ever, according to figures released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The ministry said that as of Jan 1, 2015, Japan's population was 126,163,576, a decrease of 266,757 from a year earlier, and the sixth straight year of decline, Fuji TV reported Thursday.

Ministry officials said the number of births from the second wave of baby boomers, now in their 40s, is also continuing to drop to record lows. Overall, there were 1,003,554 births, and 1,270,311 deaths.

The figures show that for the first time ever, the number of individuals 65 years and older is approximately twice that of children under 15.

The ministry used the resident registry system to compile its report.

© Japan Today

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The figures show that for the first time ever, the number of individuals 65 years and older is approximately twice that of children under 15.

this is the most depressing statement in this article.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

This is a good thing. Japan is ridiculously overpopulated for its size.

-1 ( +17 / -19 )

Population decline is a natural thing for advanced economies. As families get smaller and populations decline, the living standards and quality of living will increase as there are limited resources to share. Poverty will also decrease as a result. Population decline, especially in overpopulated Japan, is a GOOD thing. Japan's industrial robots will replace manufacturing sector jobs. Therefore having a high population is impractical and unnecessary for Japan's future.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

Japan is quite overpopulated in the small area it has. It is going in the right direction to reach sustainable population levels in a humane manner rather than relying on wars and starvation to do what is likely to happen whether anyone likes it or not. Other nations should learn from them and do the same as most of the world today is in overshoot.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

It seems that the estimate of Japan's population being halved by 2050 is pretty spot on. If there are twice as many over sixty than under 15 it can only spell DOOM for the Japanese economy. The structure of the pension and health insurance systems rely on a balance between young and old. This will lead to the total failure of the Japanese pension and welfare systems creating widespread poverty and hardship. You don't have to be an economist to realize this.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

Overpopulation is a problem. So is the fact that more than 40% of the local population will be 65+. Why are people disliking comments for pointing that out?

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Why are people disliking comments for pointing that out?

Because, clearly, only a few of us understand the real situation....

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

This is a good thing. Japan is ridiculously overpopulated for its size. a smaller population is fine as long as you have more taxpayers than those retires getting taxpayer funded pensions/health care, if you have it the other way around like Japan, the working population will need to pay much higher percentage of there wages in taxes to support the pension/health care system. not enough taxes means less pensions, less health care, lower quality of life. simple really

16 ( +17 / -1 )

the working population will need to pay much higher percentage of there wages in taxes to support the pension/health care system

Only until the old people have all died.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

kawabegawa198

That makes no sense at all. There will always be retirees. Too large a population decline is not a good thing. And it certainly does not mean more space for everyone else, that the trains won't be crowded and that everyone can live in big houses.

Honestly, some of the readers above really need to study economics.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Poverty will also decrease as a result. Population decline, especially in overpopulated Japan, is a GOOD thing. Japan's industrial robots will replace manufacturing sector jobs.

With somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% to 40% of the population on fixed incomes, the country in debt up to it's eyeballs, the social welfare system underfunded and no youth to replace the needed funds, higher taxes, loss of manufacturing jobs due to labor costs being overly high, weaker yen (need to import raw materials for manufacturing) and a shrinking middle class, you think that poverty will decrease?

24 ( +26 / -2 )

Now, if only the govt. would curb its spending accordingly... This isn't the roaring 80s anymore, guys.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Japan's problem is certainly not overpopulation. It's poorly distributed population.

23 ( +26 / -2 )

While the numbers are most likely to be small, I wonder how many foreigners have become Japanese citizens in the same time frame?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

more and more burden on the young population at the end they will have just one way to escape somewhere else. This is also the irony the last man who died/ train suicide said that his pension was not enough for his life, next more gloomy pictures.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And in 10 years, when people in their 20s and 30s are each expected to support 2 pensioners, record numbers will leave Japan, further aggravating the problem.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

well this will balance itself out after one generation (if the economy could survive for that long) this problem arises from the fact that reproduction rate for each woman during the baby boomers was 4-5 kids but now it;s less than 2, after one generation birth and death rate will balance out if they can convince Japanese women to have at least 2 kids during their lifetime but Japanese population will probably flat out at around 60 million

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One comment. Japan needs to be more immigration friendly. Keep it moving Japan........

12 ( +14 / -2 )

"a decrease of 266,757 from a year earlier,"

This means the country is losing the whole population of a sizable city every year. Depressing!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ali Khan.

That is 20yrs down the line for newborns, a lot can happen in between like most old,-timers passing on, etc.

No one can foresee the future 20rs in advance, yeah we can see a trend and speculate but that is not reality as it may develop.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

WOW, its rather frightening how some are saying simple decline is good WITHOUT doing any math, without taking into account of the shape of the population pyramid for Japan as Stephen K very CORRECTLY pointed out!

The reality here & NOW is the elderly are having HUGE affect on Japan's finances & its going to get MUCH worse. As I have been saying Japan's already very low birth rate, around 1.2 I believe, I think will head towards 1 & maybe even less than that, the rate of decline is going to be much steeper as well

things you still need to remember is people get old here! Their numbers while a LOT are dying even MORE are hitting 65+ so the number of oldies is set to SKYROCKET! And they will consume massive amounts through health care & pensions, which I guess are already pretty much bankrupt but the govt will NEVER let us know the real bottom line!

Population decline is a natural thing for advanced economies. As families get smaller and populations decline, the living standards and quality of living will increase as there are limited resources to share. Poverty will also decrease as a result. Population decline, especially in overpopulated Japan, is a GOOD thing. Japan's industrial robots will replace manufacturing sector jobs. Therefore having a high population is impractical and unnecessary for Japan's future.

WJ87,

Man oh man, put down the sci fi novels & read up on population pyramids! In case you haven't heard poverty rates are increasing here big time! Do you seriously think robots can fix Japan..............high corumba!!!

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Japan better pay off its debts now as its ability to pay off is decreasing annually and creating a substantial burden to future Japanese.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

without taking into account of the shape of the population pyramid for Japan as Stephen K very CORRECTLY pointed out!

Actually I was trying to respond to all the posters talking about Japan being overcrowded by pointing out that its population distribution is out of whack geographically, with nearly a quarter of the population concentrated in a few large metropolitan areas (which continue to grow), while rural cities and towns empty out. If you live in Tokyo, yeah it feels overcrowded, at least.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The figures show that for the first time ever, the number of individuals 65 years and older is approximately twice that of children under 15.

As GW so well states, a population decline is one thing. This kind of imbalance in the ratio of young to elderly is quite another. Unfortunately, many of the societal traits that made Japan such a properous country in the era after the war, have now come back to haunt them. And, as a result, young people have a depressing future of working most of their lives to pay off the obligations/costs of the previous generations. Quite sad.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan colonized and went to war because it had to large a population that lived far beyond its carrying capacity. It still over-fishes the world's oceans, a supposedly common resource and lives off of other people's land and water, importing most of its food and then wasting almost half of this. In the real world of ecology, population decline is a welcomed trend.

Japan's problem is certainly not overpopulation. It's poorly distributed population.

Actually, it poorly distributed population, jobs and financial resources. Get this equation right, live more within ecological restraints and there doesn't have to be great poverty and hardship.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@KevinMcguire

And in 10 years, when people in their 20s and 30s are each expected to support 2 pensioners, record numbers will leave Japan, further aggravating the problem.

I've been here almost a decade and have all but conceded that it's no longer viable for me to live here. Heartbreakig, but I'm a realist. I had too much faith in things changing here - things will only get worse before they get better (cost of living, pension system, ridiculous taxation system, falling wages etc etc).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The figures show that for the first time ever, the number of individuals 65 years and older is approximately twice that of children under 15.

This is a function of logeavity as much as anything else. If you reach the age of 65, your life expectancy would be about 90 for women, although many live beyond that, especially women. But it does show how far and fast births have fallen. In the post-war baby boom, it was common to have families of 6 or 7 children.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We'll see the same next year. Why? Because Japan doesn't have any welfare for new families or pregnant women. Are you a working lady with child in a non-international (read: Japanese) company, then you're likely to lose the job. And I really can't figure out why there are so many old people in Japan. Everywhere I go the japs smoke like chimneys, absolutely everywhere, freaking all of them

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So if the ratio between young and old people is so worrying, what is the solution? There is no real tangible solution considering government debt in Japan is already 1 quadrillion yen at 230% of Japan's total GDP. GDP is a useless measure of an economy's health, I think everyone understands this. Japan is already at the stage where 26% of the population is over 65. It's the first country EVER to experience this population structure. And changing birth rates is not very probable right now considering the weak yen and inflation. So, what's the solution then?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The old people today rebuilt Japan after WW2 and now they are going to take down the country as they exit the scene. Japan is becoming Florida, recently rated as the worst state in the USA. As the number of people goes down, GDP will shrink, taxes will go up and a downward cycle of doom will be in place. Enjoy the next five years up to the Olympics. After that all bets are off.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Lol@ Westernerjapan87. Over-dramatize much?

If you include net assets then Japan has some of the best finances in the world. Inverted demographics have happened during wars, famines, and plagues and the world has survived. This is happening in almost every single country due to increased life-expectancy and decreasing birth rates. The solution is simple. Let the population drop. The baby-boomers will die off and the population will eventually recover.
-4 ( +4 / -8 )

One solution is to try to exploit one's way though it. Exploit immigrant labor (by allowing foreign workers into the country for short times and without granting rights)...exploit women, the poor. etc, by having them work for less with no equality and with false promises of getting something out of the system in the end. Exploit people by having them believe that quality of life is something very minimal. Perhaps people in small poor towns can also be exploited with promises of development in exchange for power plants, manufacturing plants, cement-building projects, etc. This exploitation will keep wealthy people happy and the government payroll on track for the near-term. Whatever happens in the long-term, the exploiters won't be around to worry about it. OK, this is just an idea. On the other hand, maybe there's something more positive that can happen?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The fall in population may get the headline but the ageing is probably the bigger problem. The pension scheme and the health system with the "go to the doctors for a sniffle" mentality both strike me as unsustainable in their present form.

Japan is ageing faster than just about every other industrial country, and this means problems that will need solving worldwide will appear in Japan first. On the positive side, providers of services to old people in Japan will get a head start over companies in other countries. I've seen them mocked on JT before, but this relates to things like powered exoskeletons that help farmers continue working in their fields. I think Japan is also a leader in "ryuudoushoku", basically fluid/mashed food for people unable to chew. The use of dashi makes it easier to provide food that is still palatable. The same opportunities relate to products that conform to universal design (Japanese "barrier free") and the other issues old people face. Many older Japanese are fiercely independent, which lowers the overall cost of care and creates demand for products that can help them keep such independence. I can see huge potential in robotics and 3D scanning and printing to produce custom products at a fraction of the present cost. Back supports and braces, shoe insoles, dentures, etc. The number of old people should also spur development of self driving cars. Like them or not, they are definitely coming and Japanese manufacturers, a huge part of the economy, have to get in there. Short of flying and time travel, its about the biggest improvement manufacturers can make to spur demand for new cars. It might even make me buy one instead of always getting used cars.

Fwiw, the Japanese population in 1900 was just over 40 million, so the twentieth century saw incredible growth. Some decline is indeed welcome, but not with a transition through the very top heavy population pyramid Japan is facing now. The country could have seen this coming in 1980 at the latest, and should really have created a sovereign wealth fund to cover it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Rather than promoting outright immigration, I think that J-gov should be promoting so-called "kokusai kekkon," for both genders. I'm convinced that one major reason that the marriage rates are so low in Japan is because people now regard marriage to a fellow Japanese as tantamount to incest. Let's mix things up a bit, folks!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If Japanese people were wild animals they would be at the "danger of extinction" level on the endangered species list. The population needs to curb the steep decline before they pass the point of no return.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If Japanese people were wild animals they would be at the "danger of extinction" level on the endangered species list.

Not even remotely. You do realize there are 130 million of them right?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

wtfjapan: Switching from govt pension to required defined benefit pensions provided by corporations and association of businesses (smaller businesses without multinational branches) would allow more elderly without putting strain on taxes - they could even be reduced. Incentives such as free university for those that specialize in geriatrics, nursing, and other medical fields would relieve strain on infrastructure. Just my thoughts

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Stephen K,

yes the population distribution in the country itself as well as the population pyramid are BOTH seriously messed up! Japan is in dire need of de-centralizing from its major cities & their immediate surroundings, BUT so far the local will have pretty much none of it

As another poster said a lot of these issues were plain as day from the 80s & to date Japan hasn't really done anything, bit more lip service in the media etc the last few years but EVERYTHING is muzukashii!

WJ87,

What are the solutions.......as I see it Japan as an entire country is in need of a RESTORATION, it needs to re-invent itself, everything to have a CHANCE!! I used to worry about this stuff more, still do but less, bottom line unless the locals insist on change & PUSH for it, IT AINT HAPPENING.

I predict the rot will continue & just before the cliff people will want to change but alas it will be far too late. This re-invent etc should have been started 30yrs ago.

If I wasn't married I would have a lot of personal things set up to exit, but I love the mrs so sadly I am likely stuck on the Japan titanic to an extent, thankfully we have no kids, I really feel for the young people of Japan, the smart ones will plan to escape these isles or if they stay they will avoid Japan in like the plague it is

Japans problems are massive & the govt only cares of taxes & Japan inc, the people be damned.

Japan is likely past the point of no return, hopefully I am horribly wrong!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japanese from baby to grave boomers...nature always ups and downs surly country will not disappear from this.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The solution is obvious....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know if the Japanese are Smarter or Dumber than any other Group of People in the World? But, at least the Japanese population is coming down, maybe other Countries should try the same thing. If they don't kiss the World good bye.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In the face of a potentially devastating population crisis, an advanced retirement age incentive could be instituted. For example, having an optional retirement age of 70 and ensuring a 70% increase in pension once retired may drive some older people back into the workforce. Some may argue this isn't enough, but consider that many Japanese at 60 are perfectly capable of working and have no need to retire; a 70% increase in pension, once achieved would significantly affect their lives.

More drastically, a mandatory retirement age of 70 would temporize the present problem until measures can be taken to curb population decline.

I doubt anyone in the government has the clout to do such a thing without risking political suicide. And to the previous poster, it's "¡ay caramba!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Brainiac: Honestly, some of the readers above really need to study economics.

Yes, because Ecomomics is so clever it can defy all basic laws of physical - can grow infinately with no dire consequences (strong sarcasm)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Quote from the Financial Times:

"Japan’s population fell by a record amount in 2014 but the drop was merely a shadow of what lies ahead. The pace of decline is forecast to set a fresh record every year from now until the 2060s."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I quite literally owe Japan my life. Even if this nonsense is true I'd follow Japan thru the gates of Help and then some.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To everyone saying this is a good thing; ghost towns in Niigata doesn't mean more seats on the Maranouchi line, and no-longer cultivated rice paddies in Shikoku doesn't mean more resources to share. A drastically shrinking and declining population means economic hardship, possibly disaster. The whole point of Abenomics is to prove the economy can keep growing even though the population is shrinking; and while it may be possible, who is feeling the pain to make it so? And if the land value in the cities ends up collapsing as it already is in the inaka, it could spell real trouble. You can already buy apartments even in popular ski towns for only 2 million yen which is crazy, and it's very hard to predict the effects it could have on the wider economy; unlikely to be good though.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A lower population is no bad thing in a crowded, overpopulated country.

As for those doomsayers who worry about the tax burden n the decreasing proportion of working age people, I would like to remind you that not all government revenue derives from income tax. There is corporation tax too, as well as profits from overseas investments.

Factories can work round the clock, using robots. You don't need people doing this drudgery, and you certainly don't want to go down the road of mass immigration! Embrace a smaller population and find ways of making it work, rather than fearing it and weeping and wailing.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Well, it looks like the Japanese government better get its butt in gear if it is to solve its financial problems while allowing for their to be enough money for pensioners. It seems though that there is a certain group of young people that are looking to move from Tokyo, Osaka, and other big cities to more regional cities and the countryside.

20 years down the road, I think it will be those people in Japan that will be able to have the highest quality of life in Japan. With population decline hitting regional cities and small towns first, there is left great potential for people to experience a lower cost of living and more time spent in nature.

The hard truth is that Japan is a very unsustainable country. I too live to see Japan's GDP and economy grow, but unless people in Japan, and companies for that matter, move away from the big Japanese cities, living standards will only decrease in the big cities if populations continued to increase.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

you certainly don't want to go down the road of mass immigration!

Not clear what you mean by 'mass immigration.' Regardless, immigration to Japan will increase in the coming years. Unlike previous generations, Japanese under 30 are not single-mindedly dedicated to 'racial' purity.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

China will get old before it gets rich. It isn't only a Japanese problem.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So if the ratio between young and old people is so worrying, what is the solution?

Social changes that no one seems to want to do more than give lip service to. How about better child care options? Time-sharing, equality n pay, joint-custody of children after a breakup, getting rid of the glass ceiling, making women equal partners with men..(it's the women who have the kids you know and they are "expected" here to raise the kids, work full time, take care of the house and not to mention the husband too)

Japan would be fine with a smaller population BUT it needs to be better balanced.

Japans population, age wise, is just like it's debt, buried on the deep end with the elderly. The elderly are the one's who have mostly benefited from the current situation (economically) and it's the next generations who will have to foot the bill, but the grandpa's are still in power.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Another dimension to the "Japan is doomed" scenario. I've been hearing all the warnings incessantly for the past 20 years. Yawn.

I mean, come on. Eventually something -- anything -- has to happen to justify all the abstract theories. Debt default, mass unemployment, pension default, hospitals and care homes bursting at the seams, crime waves, mass emigration.

Sorry, folks, none of that is coming close to actually happening. In fact those scenarios are less likely to happen in Japan than in most other countries. Low birthrates are associated with affluence and comfort. Get used to it.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Only until the old people have all died.

You been watching Logan's Run?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stephen Knight at Jul. 02, 2015 - 06:19PM JST Japan's problem is certainly not overpopulation. It's poorly distributed population.

Well, considering Japan is mostly mountainous there's little choice in that matter. The rest of the available land is used for farming.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Population decline is a natural thing for advanced economies. As families get smaller and populations decline, the living standards and quality of living will increase as there are limited resources to share. Poverty will also decrease as a result. Population decline, especially in overpopulated Japan, is a GOOD thing.

If it were only that simple. What we have is a HUGE, HUGE decrease in rural populations and where farming occurs so that these economies and farm output will continue to decline along with those skills. Rural towns and prefectures will collapse while all of the young people CROWD into over populated cities. All of my engineering students said that would never return to their home towns, except, MAYBE, if there were to retire at 65. They wanted more of a "developed centre" whereby they could grow their talents and have more interactions. Rural life and all it has to "offer" was seen as "so yesterday." So, there will be huge imbalances in wealth and poverty. Same thing occurring in the US too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@JeffLee

I mean, come on. Eventually something -- anything -- has to happen to justify all the abstract theories. Debt default, mass unemployment, pension default, hospitals and care homes bursting at the seams, crime waves, mass emigration. Sorry, folks, none of that is coming close to actually happening. In fact those scenarios are less likely to happen in Japan than in most other countries.

On the contrary. Are we living in the same country? Japan operates in a way that only benefits 3 groups - at the expense of the apathetic taxpayer.

Old boys club Merry-go-round politicians Yakuza
3 ( +5 / -2 )

For example, having an optional retirement age of 70 and ensuring a 70% increase in pension once retired may drive some older people back into the workforce. Some may argue this isn't enough, but consider that many Japanese at 60 are perfectly capable of working and have no need to retire; a 70% increase in pension, once achieved would significantly affect their lives.

Sorry to differ about the 70% increase in pensions you propose as I cannot see where all that money could come from. The problem though is the outdated wage system in Japan. There is a widely shared belief that the older an employee is the higher his/her salary should be. Many companies offer benefits for voluntary early retirement because it means that they can reduce the burden of having to pay high wages to their about 60 and over 60 employees. I have seen recently some 60-something people work for lower wages than the system otherwise would guarantee them but that is still a minority.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan operates in a way that only benefits 3 groups

All countries have economic systems that intrinsically better benefit those at the top of the pyramid. Just take a look at the amount of poverty in the richest country in the world. (Which has robust population growth by the way)

at the expense of the apathetic taxpayer.

And every country in the world is full of "apathetic taxpayers" who nearly all moan about paying taxes. What do you suggest they do, apart from self-immolate? As for Japan's demographic problems, let's hope that out of adversity are born solutions. The Japanese can be a very inventive people at times.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have seen recently some 60-something people work for lower wages than the system otherwise would guarantee them but that is still a minority.

My friends' husbands are starting to hit the 60 mark, and with one exception only (a bloke on the BoD of his company) every single one of them were expected to either retire and live off their savings until the pension kicks in at 65, or continue in their current job at a drastically reduced salary. They are not a minority at all; this is the system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zootmoney

All countries have economic systems that intrinsically better benefit those at the top of the pyramid. Just take a look at the amount of poverty in the richest country in the world.

Yes, but at least those have a modern democracy. Japan is basically run by the Yakuza.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan's decline in population is a plus not a minus. The world has too many human beings that are destroying it's natural resources and environment and a lower population internationally is a good thing. All the do gooders who want to increase food yields to sustain all the poor countries etcetera's are fools. If you took say 100 million people and put them on a planet a quarter the size of earth, in a few millennium cannibalism would be the main diet source because they would run out of sustainable food crops and be starving. The solution of trying to feed more and more people is stupid and the real solution is to reduce populations to allow sustainable levels to survive. Sounds mean but it's the truth. Mandatory birth or population controls are not far away or maybe all this Mars exploration stuff is to allow the earth's population to keep expanding with no controls in place.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Cleo, I wrote that the people who decide to continue working for much less are still the minority. What you say is true. It happens in my field of work, too. Many if not most, however, seem to be content with more free time for golf or whatever they enjoy doing. Or they get some part-time jobs which again give them more free time than before. The bulk retirment allowances they get from their companies seem to be quite good and those whose kids have grown up (or have no kids) and have paid off their mortgages can afford to enjoy the free time.

Again, in my field of work, just a few opt for full time jobs after early retirement because the wages are a third or a fourth of what they used to get but they still have to put in the same amount of work and be in the office full time (responsibilities are fewer, too).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JaneM, I think we're both guilty of being anecdotal. :-)

From where I'm sitting, I see no one (apart from the director bloke) continuing past 60 on the same salary they had before. Most of them either continue in the same job for much lower pay, go part-time, or find other work that's less stressful, again for much less pay. Many stay on in the job for a while, until the blow to their pride at being expected to do the same job as before for a fraction of the pay forces them to reconsider. Not everyone gets a bulk retirement allowance, some are still paying off loans they took out to buy their home (at bubble-era prices) or pay for their kids' education. I know of maybe only a couple who are happy enjoying their free time (and who can afford to do so). Most still need to work, whether it's for the money or because after decades in the treadmill they just can't stop running.

As far as I know none of them skipped gleeful and singing out of the office on their 60th birthday clutching a retirement package in one hand and a set of golf clubs in the other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cleo, anecdotal we are. I cannot give you the names of my three colleagues who retired last year even before reaching 60 (personal information, etc.) The three of them just said they did not want to work full time for the miniscule wages they were offered. Truth is though, that depending on the industry, not everybody gets an allowance and many people still have mortgages and children in uni, etc. And yes, it is true that some people just cannot stop running. After being in the work force for nearly 40 years, it seems difficult to switch to the pleasures of a somewhat (more) idle everyday life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've always thought that if you need a certain percentage of workers to non-workers to maintain the tax/welfare system, then surely the obvious was is just to adjust the retirement age on an annual basis. Someone said it would be political suicide to do it. It looks like it would be economic suicide not to.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with peopke who think it's a good news. The country is overpopulated. There could be an economic collapse but after that, a rebirth with a new and more balanced model of development with higher quality of life and less stress for everyone.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan's population marks steepest decline ever

While the number of elderly, overcrowding hospital waiting rooms, will correspondingly increase

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wtfjapan JUL. 02, 2015 - 04:52PM JST This is a good thing. Japan is ridiculously overpopulated for its size. a smaller population is fine as long as you have more taxpayers than those retires getting taxpayer funded pensions/health care, if you have it the other way around like Japan, the working population will need to pay much higher percentage of there wages in taxes to support the pension/health care system. not enough taxes means less pensions, less health care, lower quality of life. simple really

The main problem in Japan is that they have nearly 40 percent (75 percent for women) of part-time workers are about as flexible as you get. They work in poorly paid jobs for hourly rates and many do not pay taxes or pay into pension system. Benefits are all but non-existent. Moreover, people working part-time are less likely to marry and have children. If Japan is to solve its demographic problem, it will have to tackle the labour issue. Japan needs to narrow the gap between over-protected permanent workers and under-protected non-permanent ones. That coddling one section of the workforce does not serve Japan’s interests well. Simply making life less cushy for permanent workers is not likely to do any good on its own. The big push should be on improving the wages and conditions of temporary workers. It should be made far easier for them to migrate to permanent jobs and for workers of all descriptions to move more freely between companies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"While the number of elderly, overcrowding hospital waiting rooms, will correspondingly increase"

The last couple of times I went to a Japanese hospital, there were only a handful of people waiting, with lots of empty seats. Used to be way more overcrowded in the past.

"retires getting taxpayer funded pensions/health care"

pensions don't have to be "taxpayer funded." The government can simply issue yen. it needs to get its yen in circulation anyway, so it may as give it to the people who have been paying their pension contributions all their lives and will spend nearly all the money on the domestic economy -- as opposed to hoarding it or giving it to rich people who then hoard, which is what the big corporations (who enjoy lavish corporate welfare) are doing. And which is Japan's core economic problem; insufficient demand.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is a major social issue and a problem for our host country.

From all indications Japan has adopted an overly "idealized" and overly "optimistic" view of the world probably due to the "false" sense of peace and economic prosperity and extremely convenient high technology, which seem to "validate" democratic, semi-capitalistic but socialistic society which "appear" to work. Add to that the sense of women's rights and female liberation with differences in sex and sexual functions as well as sex based traditional responsibilities being quickly set aside by choice and by social acceptance, women no longer desire what is now considered a "burden" of childbearing and child-rearing. Life's "pleasures" abound and now with money to spend, women especially may have difficulty seeing and appreciating the need for "survival" as a nation or as a group. It is because they are living in this society that they can do what they are doing. Once this society stop to exist, then they will no longer enjoy its benefits.

To begin with many women have not been taught the need to bear children or let alone how to raise them Most parents and grandparents were too busy working to survive and to bring about what we all enjoy today. Most did not have the time to educate their own children and relied ion the public educational system. Sadly not all educational system works and have worked. That is especially true in this "test" based educational system.

Not all can be a women based problem since men too do not desire to be married or have children, when men are "expected" to work and earn while their wives today not only have the children cared for by others, but spend most of what was earned on and for themselves since housework has been technologically automated. Although that is not true for all families, that is what many men see in their own lives with their own fathers.

Adding to that the media certainly plays a role.

The problem is that I have yet to understand exactly what the media is doing to the public, to this society.

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This is a major social issue and a problem for our host country.

It may be your "host country". It's my home, and home to many others here as well. Please do not group us together with that.

Sorry, you hit a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

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@Strangerlan

I understand... this is my home also, as long as I live here. You are my host because I do not have citizenship. I appreciate living here, and do comment here, because I do care. My family and my lives and livelihood depend on you. Thank you.

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You are my host because I do not have citizenship.

I'm not Japanese.

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