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Japan's population to shrink two thirds by 2110

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government report said Monday.

Govt has no better job to do in Japan(?)

0 ( +4 / -4 )

is this a good thing or a bad thing ? More immigration will soon come.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

is this a good thing or a bad thing ? More immigration will soon come.

more 'imaginations' not immigration may come soon..i guess.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What a lovely combination of social stigma on sex, keeping everyone to busy have to romantic relationships, raising the age of consent, and encouraging women to work. Couples are delaying having children or not having them at all? You don't say! Everything is being delayed to thicken the workforce for the sake of the yen!

In the short term the birth rate going down is a good thing, not that I am a fan of the causes. But if this goes on too long, it won't be a good thing anymore. Unfortunately most people don't want to admit the major causes of this trend. And so I don't think it will be abated.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Better start reconsidering those immigration laws....

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Everything is being delayed to thicken the workforce for the sake of the yen!

By these I mean a short term drive which burns the candle at both ends. Somebody has to make and raise the future workforce, and like or not, biologically speaking, if the women have been turned off to it by social, economic and legal circumstance, you can forget about having a workforce in the future.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

whiskeysour, there is not going to be any increased immigration. Because soon Japanese will become the minority and then the repressed minority. One thing the population of Okinawa is going up. So we should start moving to underpopulated areas of the mainland and multiply. It is a good thing the population of Japan will go down, no natural resources, natural disasters.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Finally, a seat on the train in the morning!

26 ( +26 / -1 )

Finally, a seat on the train in the morning!

no guarantee they may reduce number of train compartments :)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The issue isn't so much that the population will reduce to a degree its that its going to be a very aged population, providing care for this population is going to be basically impossible and in the meantime leaving no workforce to provide income for the country to operate.

There is a systemic problem with-in Japan now, the country is setup for and run by people that are living in a dream world, they think Japan is the Japan, and infact the world is a world, of 20 years ago and they are at the same time paralysed basically unable to make any decisive decisions on any matter whether emergency or for the future of the country they apparently love so much.

I love Japan and thought it might become my permanent home, but the actions or rather in-actions over the various issues recently has forced me to seriously re-think that.

It needs young progressive thinkers making decisions to put Japan on a path for the future, one that embraces Japan as a amazing place with a rich and beautiful culture but also recognises the global economy we now live in, one that allows young families to have children without forcing their parents into often unneeded slave like working hours and provides a system that is supportive for people trying to make their way in a world that is now very hard to succeed in.

I hope and wish that Japanese people can begin to look at what is wonderful and great and embrace it while at the same time having the pride and courage to change things for the better.

This news is not new at all and the government knows the levels of immigration required to sustain the current economy, the trouble is most Japanese people aren't ready to accept that many foreigners and those foreigners aren't ready to accept the conditions of being a foreigner here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

polygamy ?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan’s population has been declining as many young people have put off starting families, seeing it as a burden on their lifestyles and careers. A slow economy has also discouraged young people from having babies.

While I am sure there is some truth to the above statement, I am not sure "blaming" young people and the poor economy is the right way of approaching this issue. Could it be that as a generation or two of young people has more exposure to the rest of the world, unlike ever before in the history of Japan, they see what is dysfunctional about their motherland and simply don't see the point of bringing new life into such an environment?

The above statement sounds like the geezers of the LDP lamenting the "wagamamaness" of the youth, when if fact the politicians and bureaucrats of Japan have in fact made such a mess of much of the country that people say what 's the point?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Can marriage and having more children be revived in Japan? Maybe, if expectations of those roles of both sexes change, but shifting traditional attitudes is hard. Japan Government cannot legislate away popular prejudices. They can encourage change. Relaxing divorce laws might, paradoxically, boost marriage. Women who now steer clear of wedlock might be more willing to tie the knot if they know it can be untied, not just because they can get out of the marriage if it doesn’t work, but also because their freedom to leave might keep their husbands on their toes. Family law should give divorced women a more generous share of the couple’s assets. Japan Government should also legislate to get employers to offer both maternal and paternal leave, and provide or subsidize child care. If taking on such expenses helped promote family life, it might reduce the burden on the state of looking after the old.

Japan government have long taken the view that the superiority of their family life was one of their big advantages over the West. That confidence is no longer warranted. They need to wake up to the huge social changes happening in their country and think about how to cope with the consequences.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

keeping everyone to busy have to romantic relationships

Yes - because knowing the Japanese, if their time was freed up, romance would be the first thing on their agenda.

But seriously, can we fix this without more immigration? Things are quite nice now, no need to spoil it.

Anyway, Japan and Finland are about the same size. But Finland has only about 8 million people and they even have better mobile phones. I am sure Japan could adapt.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Godan, thats kind of my point, people are expected to give their lives to their companies still, once when companies provided cheap housing, regular bonuses and a job until a healthy retirement that made some sense, however that system is almost non-exisitant now.. So you are expected to give everything for actually very little. I think young people do want kids, but when after rent and the various other ridiculous key-money, thanks money, re-leasing fee, and so on and so on you are struggling just to keep in the black its pretty tough to ask or expect people to live with even less, work more while trying to be a good parent.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is why I think buying Real Estate in Japan is a bad idea. Who will you sell it to. The rural areas of Japan are already fairly cheap but land values in Tokyo are going to continue to drop unless something is done.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

family values and social norms went out the window long ago however. Odd because this place is crawling with people and kids. May my wife live long after me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is great news. Japan has far too many people now.

Japan is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Montana but has half the population of the entire U.S. Moreover, most of Japan is unbuildable so imagine half of all the people in the U.S. living around the edge of Montana with the interior of the state, say 80%, empty. Hard to imagine, isn't it!

3 ( +4 / -2 )

Why did you think it was in year 2101 that war was beginning?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

100 years is a long time to predict that trends will stay the same, even in Japan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Finally, a seat on the train in the morning!

Not if you live in Tokyo. The last 43 million will probably all be found on the Yamanote loop.

Perhaps this is the form of protest missing to the naked eye. Japanese have simply chosen not to procreate. What other nation's people have collectively rejected life?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

People keep saying great, but they are predicting at the current birth rates and immigration levels that there will be a third of the current population, Japan already has one of the highest percentage elderly.. this basically equals economic collapse, planning, solutions and both private and public savings are required ignoring this situation is not an answer. Simply put the financial burden upon the percentage of workers to non-workers can't be sustained.

Hoserfella, most "1st world" nations birthrate is in decline and has been for sometime. Are you suggesting that modern capitalism perhaps isn't what the world needs and actually doesn't satisfy the human condition.. perhaps I agree but, to suggest that its just a Japanese issue is not accurate. In fact I love the way I see Japanese people embrace life, love and the world when given the chance.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

By 2060, 40% of the Japanese population will be aged 65 or over.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It can drop even faster if Mt. Fuji wakes up.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Even if the birth rate was magically doubled tonight, it would still require two decades for all the kids to become part of the labor force. Therefore increased immigration is necessary to stabilize the labor force meanwhile.

It is mathematically impossible to keep funding the current social system if the number of recipients increases while the labor force dwindles. With a 200% to GDP debt ratio, this is definitely the major problem facing Japan.

Probably the current social system will have to be dismantled and replaced by private insurances. Repartition-based pension plans are not sustainable especially in countries like Japan, it should simply be replaced by capitalization-based systems.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Guillaume VarèsJan. 31, 2012 - 09:11AM JST. Therefore increased immigration is necessary to stabilize the labor force meanwhile.

Increase immigration? In your dreams. Japanese would starve than increase immigration. This is out of question. It will not happen.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

No problem.

Okinawa and islands can be given to the US. West Japan to China. East Japan to Korea. Hokkaido to Russia.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

@NZ2011. This is exactly how my hubby, who is Japanese and his friends feel. Still work yourself to the bone but there isn't any job security. Where hubby works, there are a lot of the 'haken' contract workers. They seem to be on the increase. As for women in the workforce, I personally know of three women who were 'let go' because they had to take time off from work to look after sick kids. It's just ridiculous. If you meet that standard of having family to help out, full time employment not a 'haken' contract where you actually slave away but are classed as 'part-time' , you can get by. Otherwise, when the poo poo hits the fan as it can do with kids, you are really struggling. A lot of married couples are not that 1950s ideal that Japan seems to cherish, where you can survive on one wage, the wife is waiting at the door to welcome hubby home with a brandy while the grandparents have the time and energy to pick up the slack with the kids at a moments notice.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Need to have a campaign to stop having new halfs and the "herbivore" type of "man" being accepted...Its not normal.. Get your meat!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Have to laugh that this is "news". Haven't we known this for years? They spent about 30 mins on this last night and were interviewing women about having kids. None seemed to keen because they want to work. Hmmm... how about doing both? How about Japan supports those who do? They interviewed one working mom with an 8 month old and she commented that she would have more if she was promised daycare but as it was, she had a hard time finding a good place the first time.

Had a good chuckle at them showing omiai meetings for people in their 60s. Guess a women needs to get remarried/married to ensure she's going to get a handout from the government. Lord knows they don't have their own pension for the most part so need to sponge off some guy who has worked his butt off and paid.

Immigration, daycare, better wages for women... Things Japan should have been doing 20 years to deal with this problem. As usual, the government has not been proactive - and as of yet, hasn't even been reactive!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Kyushu seems to be bucking this trend; there are so many 3 - 4 kid families down here.

NZ2011 - excellent point about comparing working conditions from the past with now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

immigration will not solve this problem. look at europe, they have been importing people from the middle east for decades to keep their numbers growing to prop up their nanny state systems. look at what it got them. ethnic rioting, ghettoized muslims, terrorism.

japan needs to get the younger people from the cities back out into the country side. japan's northern half is practically uninihabited even before the march 11 earthquake. hokkaido probably has more bears then people.

we need to get new industry going to revitilize the economy before the south koreans and then the chinese squeeze us out of the electronics and auto industry.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

How about getting some of these retirees and having them babysit for the working moms (btw, this is what normally happens in an extended family that lives together).

Also, being from the US Rust Belt, once the economy and population declines governments are beyond inept at downsizing (removing unnecessary roads, bridges, and old buildings), thus, I predict a long dreary decay in Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hoserfella, most "1st world" nations birthrate is in decline and has been for sometime. Are you suggesting that modern capitalism perhaps isn't what the world needs and actually doesn't satisfy the human condition.. perhaps I agree but, to suggest that its just a Japanese issue is not accurate. In fact I love the way I see Japanese people embrace life, love and the world when given the chance

. NZ2011 - 1st world birthrates may be declining, but unlike Japan, they aren't shrinking. And please don't interpret what I said to be some naive flower-child rejection of capitalism. I was talking about Japan, and as Samantha Zoe Aso points out, the assault on ordinary Japanese families by clueless Oyaji politicians.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

How about getting some of these retirees and having them babysit for the working moms (btw, this is what normally happens in an extended family that lives together).

Babysitting your own grandkids is one thing, babysitting someone else's is a different matter. No thank you.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

There will come a day when there will whole train cars reserved for the elderly.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In fact I love the way I see Japanese people embrace life, love and the world when given the chance.

The key words being "given the chance". My GF, working full time, is allowed to "embrace life" on Sundays, 3 days in August, and about 6 days around New Years. All while working for a pittance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

ethnic rioting, ghettoized muslims, terrorism Your racism is showing loud and clear. And is rather disgusting.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Polyandry: two herbivores to one 'ogre bride'? Cheaper real estate?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

More day care.

Longer maternity leave (both for mother and father). 1 year is not enough. 3 years at least.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Could it also mean that land prices will steadily decrease over the next fifty years as demand falls? There'll be a huge number of empty buildings... Or maybe we'll all be able to build much bigger houses and apartments!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Agree.... how could land prices rise when the population is decreasing. No way I'd buy any land in central Tokyo unless the numbers start to change.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Who says Japan is unbuildable? Get off the trainline! The Tv has also recently been showinh young mothers who are afraid of having children because of information overload and too much pressure to be the perfect mother. I enjoyed yesterdays program when the regulars gave the guest speaker a hard time about her answers in how to deal with it. You know the specialist that talks with a permanent smile and one tone voice and uses so much hair spray that not one hair is out of place AND she uses a iron obviously cause she hasnt a wrinkle in her clothes, yk the perfect specialist on how to be a mother but is in to promoting one child so that you can achieve the perfectness without pressure style-yeah Kyushu is known for their strong women in the old J movies. They should have specialists who have been roughed up by a 2yo a 4yo a 6yo and a baby beforehand when they are filming,hmph! Pray that the baby burps up all over her too!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I have an idea. For every child born of at least one Japanese parent and living in Japan have the Government give them Y30 million per child. The money will simply be printed and no bonds or taxes will be levied against it. By just printing the money you are in effect just devaluing the Yen and ultimately the Yen will weaken versus other currencies. You kill two birds with one stone. The money can only be used towards a house / land and education fees.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I am no historian, so one of our brainiac ph.d.s feel free to chime in. My understanding of history is that after the plague was one of the few times where the population fell, and I further understand that due to the relative shortage of labor thereafter there was a prolonged period of higher wages and better living conditions for laborers. Thus, perhaps for those of working age, the working condition will improve.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The money can only be used towards a house / land and education fees.

Yeah right. Vouchers I get, cash? Sadly some of them will be heading to pachinko and buying smokes instead of putting it towards their kids - which is why I think this silly kid's bonus needs to be put to an end. Put that money towards education and daycares.

What I don't get is why there is STILL mass construction for mansions and apartments. I live in a new areas and in a year there have been construction non-stop. Personally, I am looking forward to the cheaper houses and more land - finally get a garden.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Don't worry, advanced robots will soon come on stream.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan will be just fine with a "greyer" society. Some adjustments in social, financial, and legal systems will be necessary of course.

If, on the other hand, Japan follows Europe´s disastrous example and replaces the aging population with massive immigration from the islamic world, Japan´s future is bleak indeed. I hope the politicians are looking at the precedents world-wide and don´t repeat the mistake.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

sfjp330:

" Can marriage and having more children be revived in Japan? "

Of course, it can. Follow France`s example and offer free all-day nursery care for little children, and you will see the fertiliy rate go up to the around 2.1 per woman which is the statistical average for maintaining a stable population.

The current system in Japan actively punishes people for having babies, so it is no wonder that the fertility rate is where, around 1.5 now? Look around your neighbourhood.... in mine, one designer baby is the norm. Instead of more children, people get a chihuahua. That policy makes sense when you want to shrink a population, but now when you want to grow it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Seems the people of this nation have become so disgruntled with Japan and life they dont want to procreate and continue the natural instinct of having one's genes continue the evolution.

Govt and society need to take a long hard look at the reasons why and do as much as possible to encourage people to have famillies and kids.

Sex should be encouraged, and the support systems need to be encouraging for those with kids, else this race will become extinct in a few hundred years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's why I think rising consumption tax is a good idea. It means everybody will have to pay extra including the elder population that have saved lots of money keeping them under the futons.

Have you ever thought how elder people spend their savings after retirement? They go to abroad and spend there while everyone pay taxes and pension insurance to support them!

I know that many elder might be in need for extra support and welfare but that is already reality in Japan with some exceptions - that's why the life expectancy is high as well, isn't it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Analysts say having a smaller population is not in itself a problem, as demonstrated by the economic and diplomatic successes of many European nations with far fewer people than Japan.

But an ageing population causes all manner of difficulties, most notably for Japan’s government finances, already hard pressed by two decades of economic stagnation

More retirees inevitably means more spending on social security when Japan’s public debt, at twice GDP, is already one of the industrialized world’s worst.

The hand writing is clearly on the wall. 100 or so years -- tops -- until Japan becomes economically unworkable. As it says, a smaller population by itself is not a problem, but a shrinking/aging one is, as there become too few young people paying taxes to support the huge social services costs -- like pensions and health care. Some serious changes need to happen NOW, but IMO, the Tohoku disaster and the associated costs and problems with the energy supply, etc., will distract Japan for at least a decade. And then the trends may be too late to turn around.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The main cause is the working style of japan. Anyone who has job has to work late night otherwise his/her manager will be angry. So to make the manager pleasure needs to work late and how any young will get time to meet boyfriend or girlfriend.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

nz2011,godan,, some good posts there!

I have been harping for yrs about the piss poor quality of life for the majority in Japan, the decline in birthrate shud be no surprise what so ever. But of course the morons who run the show here are utterly clueless & are inclined to simply let the rot continue as is. Unless this changes the rot will start to increase & things will get nasty rather quick.

IMO if Japan doesnt WHOLESALE re-invent itself its in for major major pain & quality of life will decline quickly.

Land is pardon the pun dirt cheap outside the cities for a few million yen you can easily find plots around 15x40m, there are already 10s of thousands of unused homes ALL over Japan that quickly rot & values turn NEGATIVE due to the cost of cleaning up the decrepid buildings

10yrs ago my goal was to pay off my mortgage quickly as I could, about 5yrs ago I started saving cash instead, tghe future is looking grim here

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Of course, this report is only relevant if the mortality rate stays the same as it is today, which is based on a lifestyle from 70 years ago. I have no doubt the mortality rate will drop in the next 20-30 years making this report hogwash.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think young Japanese of late see their parents & they just dont want to become like them, they have front row seats watching how Japan Inc lied to the fathers, they see working for companies SUCKS most of the time, add in crappy wages, no job security, looking at the math of their situations how on earth could one NOT be depressed. So so surprise fewer marry & even fewer want kids & those that do have kids more & more are the type that are raising kids they never wanted & we read about the kids suffering on a daily basis.

Unless Japan wholesle re-invents this country top to bottom, bottom to top, I predict the decline will increase & at some point the birth rate will drop by a HUGE margin that will excelerate the de-population like nowhere ever seen on the planet. The resulting decline in quality of life will at some point get so bad that the average age of men & women will start to decrease.

I hope this stuff never happens but unless things change I can see at least some of it happening, heck some is already been happening for 10+yrs or more

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Disillusioned

Of course, this report is only relevant if the mortality rate stays the same as it is today, which is based on a lifestyle from 70 years ago. I have no doubt the mortality rate will drop in the next 20-30 years making this report hogwash.

You missed the point...... If people lived longer that would make the problem worse unless you raised the retirement age.............. The problem is not the Mortality rate its the birth rate...

More retirees inevitably means more spending on social security when Japan’s public debt, at twice GDP, is already one of the industrialized world’s worst.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Need more babies? Great! Ladies of child-bearing age,..."walk this way"!! Glad to oblige!!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Remove unnecessary regulations, abolish protectionist policies, don't protect "zombie companies".

Abolish the public social security system and replace it with a free market insurance system.

Abolish the repartition-based pensions system and replace it with the freedom to save for retirement on pensions funds.

Implement a well-designed immigration policy (right now there is no coherent immigration policy in Japan) on a point-based system for foreign workers (both qualified and unqualified).

Separate economy and politics.

Significantly decrease public spending.

Then the economy will revive and a new economic balance will be found, which will take into account the high number of old people in the population.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If these figures are only taking into account the current and projected birth rate decline they will have to readjust this in the next few years to take into account the effect of Fukushima's fallout. Time will tell though.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@tmarie - i have no problems with anyone's religion or race. it is just a simple fact that western europe is trying to immigrate it's way past the problem of low native birth rate. this has only caused them problems. the 2005 muslim riots in france should have been a wake up call to europe's problem. their immigrant populations aren't integrating into society and becoming french, german, british. they stay in cloistered communities where they try to keep living life like it was from the country they fled. japan must not repeat this mistake. smart immigration of peoples that will be proud to become at least nationally japanese. people that will intergrate into our culture and values. japan should no allow for example a large amount of filipinos to immigrate to only later find a little manilla district in osaka. we should want those filipinos to melt in and dissappear into japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The current system in Japan actively punishes people for having babies Actually, I think it just punishes the women. Women get let go from jobs, have their hours cut back, can't find daycare if they actually work at a company that will keep them off after having kids. The men? Get a raise in salary.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I think 1.35 babies per woman doesn't really show much economy wise. I have read somewhere that the current birth rate in Japan is 8 babies per 1000 people, slightly more than in Germany. In comparison, the birth rate in the US is 13 babies per 1000 and in Russia is 12. Taking into consideration the amount of population, Japan is doing not so bad, worse than the US and Russia, but much better than Germany.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Tyler Vandenberg - You missed the point

I didn't miss the point at all! Of course the population will drop as women stop having babies. I just get sick of hearing about Japan's mortality rate being so high cos it is based on a lifestyle from 70 years ago. That is all I stated. However, this report is still hogwash simply because the mortality rate has nothing to do with the birth rate, does it? Unless they expect women to continue having babies into their seventies, which wouldn't surprise me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

you can't undo 2000 years of culturally ingrained xenophobia overnight. you can bring about sweeping domestic/social reforms like employment protection laws.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Unless they expect women to continue having babies into their seventies, which wouldn't surprise me.

Well we females are nothing but mere baby makers... Or at least, that is what some think.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@WilliB

Those Chihuahuas have more money spent on them then kids do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

sfjp330Jan. 31, 2012 - 08:25AM JST

Can marriage and having more children be revived in Japan? Maybe, if expectations of those roles of both sexes change, but shifting traditional attitudes is hard.

As a liberal, it pains me a little to say this, but its the conservative traditional types who breed like jackrabbits, while us so-called modern people are failing to propogate. My only consolation is that my liberal ideas on the subject are not the same as more common liberal ideas. Those more common liberal ideas will only continue to make the population decline. And those ideas are so new that they cannot be called traditional as you seem to be calling them. Perhaps those ideas can work if people get serious about patching the holes? I cannot say. But I am positive that staying the course won't help. Japan may need to promote the real traditional values again. Its better than doing nothing, or even floating half-baked ideas and getting behind them half-heartedly.

To patch today's ideas though, I think it will take some radical action. Polygamy and polyandry for example look like winners to me in what would work. Its just I see no way to promote them. I also believe that a campaign to make everyone clearly understand those prefectural age of consent laws would help. If motherhood were promoted as important in high school and high school age females were not discouraged from dating men who can provide (as high school males cannot) and vice-versa, even that might pull Japan out of the nose dive. I know nay-sayers will attack that as hard as polygamy, but seriously, these are traditional ideas humanity has used to breed and prosper. If we fail to breed citing what amounts to new, untested liberal morality (that even modern conservatives have adopted) we will find ourselves over-run by Catholics and Muslims and all the other hard-core traditional people. They aren't slowing down. We can adapt or disappear.

Some will put their hopes on better day-care, tax breaks, cash incentives and things like that, but I think those are penny ante ideas of the wide-eyed dreamer. The first step is to promote coupling, and Japan seems to be doing its best to discourage coupling with the possible expeption of ubiquitous love hotels. Sexual frequency is down. And that right there tells you that men and women just are not getting together. Cash rewards for babies mean nothing if you don't even have someone to make a baby with!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Cash rewards for babies mean nothing if you don't even have someone to make a baby with!

Women who want kids have no problems finding donors.

Thing is, with the way they get treated in society, they see kids as a burden - and to be fair, they are the way it is done here. No freedom, lots of judgement from society and what they should be doing, losing ones job... If women didn't feel that kids took everything away from them that they worked for, they might give it a second thought. I'm a well educated women who probably would have sprogs now if I knew that a) my job and life wasn't in jeopardy because of the stigma attached to being a working mom - if I could get the daycare. Which is questionable. It seems my husband might make too much and others would get spots instead of me. Seems unfair that this is done via a lottery of such rules.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Immigration is a very bad idea because qualified workers don't really want to work in Japan after the Fukushima event and the prospect of even bigger earthquakes occuring within the next decades. Which means that only uneducated/unqualified people would accept to work in Japan. And as a European, I know how bad it would look after a decade or two. Most people who thumbdown anti-immigration comments here do so because they have no idea how it is to live in a country where the culture is going into the drain little by little. I think it's important to protect cultures that have managed to remain quite intact over the centuries. A world with countries all looking alike would be a very sad world don't you think?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Women who want kids have no problems finding donors.

Few are looking for just a donor. Plenty of men are offering. When you figure out why the women are not lining up, you might begin to understand.

Thing is, with the way they get treated in society, they see kids as a burden

They ARE a burden. They always were! I think women just used to see enough joy to offset the burden. Working professional women have great difficulty seeing that joy. Heck, so do working professional men!

Couples who want kids bad enough will have them. But the trick is to make couples who want babies first. You cannot do that by pushing women hard toward working, delaying their dating experience, then dangling little carrots in front of them in the direction of coupling and baby making. Most women just cannot hack the mixed message. Even when they do, their husbands are not exactly ecstatic about having a working mother for a wife, not unless they have a mistress who actually has energy left for fun.

Seems unfair that this is done via a lottery of such rules.

Like heck! If he makes so much and you work too, hire a nanny!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ KingBazil. Tmarie says it all. Unfortunately, traditional values don't feed that lovely baby you rock in the crib at night...or guarantee that your husband's contract will be renewed at the end of the year. If you don't have extended family, who helps if your kid is hospitalized with a serious illness., pays for the youchien you are culturally obliged to enter your child into, the school fees, university fees? Not in this modern world anyway. Bringing back traditional family roles and values, romantic as it sounds does require those cash incentives you poo poo, it does require women's role in the workforce to be totally overhauled and allow those that want to work to be able to do so. I think a lot of families out there would just like the choice but as it stands, more and more don't. Insecurity on the job front, no equality for women returning to work when kids are school age. Add in the new dimension that a lot of women are choosing to have babies later and then end up caring for elderly relatives as well as their kids.....nightmare. I applaud traditional values, I really do but an environment needs to be created for this to flourish. Look at the European countries that are doing it well. More financial incentives, longer maternity and paternity leave, parents can work flexible time etc.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

NZ2011 makes a very good point!

The problem is not only the decline of the population which will impact economic growth and power, but the extreme aging of the population as a whole. The negative effects will outweigh any positive effects (e.g. less violent crimes) The reasons for the low birthrate are so complex and difficult to solve that the government has no clue where to start. It goes to the very core of current Japanese society and culture, being back-ward in women emancipation, discrimination of women on the workplace, coupled with a serious relational gap between Japanese men and women.

The decline is going faster and faster, but moreover the demographic shift is strengthening the already excessive (voting) power the elderly population in Japan has. The few remaining young people in Japan, do not have steady jobs, lower income and are not interested in politics as they knowing it will not make a difference anyway. The reigning politicians of Japan average about 70 years, they are not interested in change , not in the future and certainly not in Japans young generation and children.

All of this means, that there will be no change in Japan, the growing group of elderly simply don't want anything to change (as long as the hefty pension paychecks are coming and health care stays cheap). Japan has already entered a “vicious circle” and without dramatic changes it will experience a slow death of the nation as a whole.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I dont see why its such a problem. The gov. could simply remove the forced retirement age to retain a lot of its skilled work force. Many people really dont want to retire or are not in an economic position to retire so being able to continue working would be good news for them and the economy combined. It would also be good for society because it may lower divorces of the housewives that cant stand having their husband`s sitting around the house all day after retirement so they divorce them. And it could lower health problems related to depression or feelings of uselessness based on not having something constructive work to do. Work is a good thing. Of course, those who become too weak or tired to work, they should be allowed to retire with full benefits, but no one should be forced to retire.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bring in the robots.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

30,000+ people committing suicide every year doesn't help matters much either

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Dismaying statistic: today, Japanese women live 4.45 years longer than men. Fifty years from now, this gap will widen rather than narrow, with women living 4.54 years longer than men. In fact, even after all the advances in medicine and health care that will come during th next five decades, men then will still have lives that are two years shorter than what women have now! At the rate of increase seen in these figures, it will be around 2110 that men finally reach the point (86.39 years) where women already are now. (And they will never catch up, because that gap is widening with each passing year, not narrowing.)

Spare a thought for Japan's poor beleaguered salarymen. Worked to the bone, deprived of chances to be with their kids, no job security anymore... and they're falling behind in life expectancy gains. And no one seems to care.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When you figure out why the women are not lining up, you might begin to understand. I guess you didn't bother to read all of my post, did you?

You cannot do that by pushing women hard toward working, delaying their dating experience, then dangling little carrots in front of them in the direction of coupling and baby making. BY pushing them to work harder? No one is pushing them to work harder. We're asking for fair working environments that pay like the boys do. We're asking that we don't have our contracts renewed if we get pregnant. We're asking for the opportunity to work AND gave kids which the way things are, is limited. I know many mothers back home who find it easier to work all day instead of stay home and go crazy with kids. Have you ever thought that many Japanese women may feel the same?

Even when they do, their husbands are not exactly ecstatic about having a working mother for a wife, not unless they have a mistress who actually has energy left for fun. I don't think you get to speak for all men (just like I can't for all women). Many men I know wish their wives would get off their butts and help contribute to the household finances.

Like heck! If he makes so much and you work too, hire a nanny! My point exactly. We DON'T make enough to survive off his wages alone if I would like to take the brats back home to see the family, help pay for their uni and have a house so they have a backyard. Heck, with the both of us working we still can't afford a house let alone a house AND a nanny.

The gov. could simply remove the forced retirement age to retain a lot of its skilled work force. Many people really dont want to retire or are not in an economic position to retire so being able to continue working would be good news for them and the economy combined. The def needs to be raised but I think you're wrong about people not wanting to retire. Many are counting down the days until they get to stop working. Not all but many. Japan has mentioned it and people started howling - the voting people so... nothing on that front. I think it needs to be raised until 70-75 if people are living until 90. Pretty much the same amount of retirement years as it was when it was first put at 60. 15 years or so to claim and then die. Thing is, people want to travel, see friends and then claim back more than they paid into it - or like the women claim when they didn't personally put a drop into it.

30,000+ people committing suicide every year doesn't help matters much either It would if they were over the age of 70... I kid, I kid...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

sswayJan. 31, 2012 - 01:53PM JST If these figures are only taking into account the current and projected birth rate decline they will have to readjust this in the next few years to take into account the effect of Fukushima's fallout. Time will tell though.

Too many factors that could influence this, not least of which that less and less people are smoking, and less are starting to smoke. That alone could save hundreds of thousands of people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No one will actually know what Japan will be like in 100 years time or whether Japan is still here or for that matter the planet?

A lot can happen in 100 years!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

zichi, you are so right a lot can happen in 100 years.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

86.7 million on 377'835 km² (Japan) in 2060 is like 81.8 million on 357'022 km² (Germany) in 2012... What's the problem with that?...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

86.7 million on 377'835 km² (Japan) in 2060 is like 81.8 million on 357'022 km² (Germany) in 2012... What's the problem with that?...

What's the percentage of usable land in both countries? I think Japan has many mountain areas that can't be used for either living or farming - the reduced number will help (hopefully) but not enough to really make Japan self sufficient.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bring in the robots

dellennich - Theyre already here. I have a co-worker who works from 820 to 10 pm, 7 days a week. I doubt he remembers his last day off. Somehow the other co-workers speak of this in reverential terms while I am disgusted with his utter lack of a life and interest in his family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't think they were too concerned about whether there will be enough space for 86.7 million people...Japan has already handled the space problem pretty well (and before you even consider to retort that statement; look at Manila).

The problem is that with such a massive decline in the population, there will be an equal decline in the active workforce. If Japan is gonna be able to keep production levels on par with today, it will have to rely more heavily on skilled immigrants. The department of immigration is already working to improve and relax immigration laws, so I think we'll see some changes there within the next 10 years or so.

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Working 16 hours days seven days a week i'm sure has nothing to do with it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The radioactive contamination in the Japanese environment will also harm the Japanese population's fertility and fetus development at some stage. This is bound to have a negative bearing on growth

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think its good to hv less ppl. Less ppl = less polution, less war, less crime, less crazy ppl, less otaku...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"The projections by the ministry’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research forecast that Japanese women would on average have just 1.35 babies, well below the replacement rate, within 50 years."

And so what is the government doing to combat this... I mean aside from snide 'baby-machines' remarks and placing the onus on young women to bail out the nation while the old codgers in office take away family tax breaks and increase taxes?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kurisupisu:

" The radioactive contamination in the Japanese environment will also harm the Japanese population's fertility "

No, it won´t. The population decline has nothing to do with radiation.

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I seem to remember a politician saying here a few years back about this same problem: "It is ok to have a Small Japan, we don't need to be Big Japan." Liberal immigration will never happen here unless they abandon Hokkaido to the Russians and Shikoku to whoever wants it. My wife, who is Japanese, said about this: "I'm ok with Japanese disappearing completely, no big deal." Her wish is coming true it would appear.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just decrease the cost of the hospital delivery costs, give 100% coverage for child care for both parents to work, increase the benefit to the parents to have a child or children in school, in income tax, and spend more money in Japan rather than spending it in some other country. Japan has to protect itself, otherwise it will have another name, and it will not be Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The population itself dropping isn't the problem - the problem is that there won't be enough money to prop up the old people. They need to deal with the pension age, pension payments and who they allow to collect - ie, stop allowing people who have never themselves paid a dime, to collect. I am more than happy to have less people here. However, it is the system in place that will fail.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Either the nation of Japan accepting immigrants from other countries or her demise is 'inevitable'! With this low birth rate and long living span of Japanese lives, pure Japanese blood is 'endangered'! Dont be surprise the Chinese languages will dominant Japan three decades later!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Now I am truly Japan is a'pacifist state' with or without the 'pacifist constitution! Her low birth rate and huge elderly populations made her no longer could drafting sufficient young men into the military!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

sunhawk "immigration will not solve this problem. look at europe, they have been importing people from the middle east for decades to keep their numbers growing to prop up their nanny state systems. look at what it got them. ethnic rioting, ghettoized muslims, terrorism."

Hopefully the Japanese and the Asian people will keep on protecting themselves and never make the mistake we made.

tmarie "Your racism is showing loud and clear. And is rather disgusting."

Excuse me but what DO YOU know about the situation with immigration in Europe ? If I'm correct, you're living in Japan and thus judging the situation far away from a secured land where immigration is under strict control. I'm suggesting you instead to come and experiment a living near the african-muslim communities over here before expressing a judgement on that matter.

Also, do you know what a genocide by replacement is ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

StormsilverFeb. 02, 2012 - 07:21AM JST. Excuse me but what DO YOU know about the situation with immigration in Europe ? If I'm correct, you're living in Japan and thus judging the situation far away from a secured land where immigration is under strict control. I'm suggesting you instead to come and experiment a living near the african-muslim communities over here before expressing a judgement on that matter.

Germany has the same problem as Japan. The number of potential workers in Germany is expected to fall by 6.5 million to 38 million, resulting in severe skills shortages and serious consequences for the German economy. Germany needs to reduce skilled labour gaps by increasing immigration and hiring more women. Just like Japan, Germany needs to integrate more women into the workforce. However, increased immigration will still be needed to provide enough workers for the looming skills shortage. The problem is that German immigration policy makes immigration of skilled workers from outside the European Union difficult. Only 2 percent of immigrants to arrive in Germany were skilled labourers.

I think the biggest surprise to Japanese residents who haven't spent time in Europe is that it is much more multi-cultural, much more multi- ethnic than they think. This idea that Europe is this white protestant Christian place is much more complicated than that. Like Japan, Germany is wrestling with how best to accommodate its changing demographics. Germany has no national history of integration, no melting pot. The country is home to millions of guest workers who came in the 70s & 80's to work, but never became German citizens, and many never left. Many don't speak German, only a fraction goes on to college. Many do not feel welcome. Therefore it is also very difficult for the immigrants to accept themselves as Germans, when the German themselves are in an identity crisis. It is a country taking beginning steps toward multiculturalism. Germany needs immigrants to replenish its workforce. Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, and without immigrants, Germany's social welfare system and the fourth largest economy in the world will have difficulty ahead.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Excuse me but what DO YOU know about the situation with immigration in Europe ? If I'm correct, you're living in Japan and thus judging the situation far away from a secured land where immigration is under strict control. I'm suggesting you instead to come and experiment a living near the african-muslim communities over here before expressing a judgement on that matter. I just got back to Japan from living in Europe thanks very much. Where I worked in a predominating African Muslim area. I could easily turn it around and suggest "What do you know about Japan when YOU live in Europe. See how easy that is? You can try and excuse your racism and hate all you like but its is disgusting.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

genji17JAN. 31, 2012 - 09:52AM JST

Need to have a campaign to stop having new halfs and the "herbivore" type of "man" being accepted...Its not normal.. Get your meat!

Either I'm dreaming or you just referred to women as "meat".

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

open the gates! let more foreigners in. get some mixed babies out there. how is the population of ethnic japanese people in other countries? Are japanese people in other countries having more babies in comparison?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Too bad, seems like as Japan advances in technology, it increases the odds that robots really will be used to boost population in the 2100's.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Then the economy will revive and a new economic balance will be found, which will take into account the high number of old people in the population.

So basically you want Japan to model itself after the American economy? No, thanks, that place is a disaster zone, Japan is a picture of safety, efficiency, and wealth compared to that ugly mess.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

One thing that is changing is that elderly are healthier than they used to be, which suggests an other option, keep them working full time and then part time.First having the have something to do and keeping them out in public will keep them more interested in life as well a functioning. We already in the United States have people rejecting retirement, even when they can afford it, and working full time into their eighties and some into the nineties and even a few at 100.

One African country had a long term civil war.when they wanted to reopen their railroad most of the people with experience were in their sixties and up in their eighties and they run the railroad and train younger people.

So working years may be extended comfortably for many people, and those that cannot work full time still might be able to do part time. That would solve some of the problem of not having as many younger workers. Sounds lot better than warehousing the old in nursing homes to me.As the population is dropping you won't need as many workers to start with.

Japan may well teach the rest of the world how to deal with dropping populations instead of bringing in lots of foreigners that have problems fitting in, or who may not want to. Nothing wrong with being adaptable and rethinking everything from economics to socially to reduced population instead of growing population. This would solve in the long run most of the ecology problems of the world which are a result of over population. Problems can be seen as opportunities to try something new helping make mankind more creative.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

look at europe, they have been importing people from the middle east for decades to keep their numbers growing to prop up their nanny state systems. look at what it got them. ethnic rioting, ghettoized muslims, terrorism.

Agreed. Stay away from Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In word war 2 Japan was blessed with 2 Nuclear Bombs, thought out the history naturals disasters, down fall of Economy .. people thinks keep away of making families... promotional..goods services , encouragements for single life..

Those all Shows me...

Japan is cursed Nation ...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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