Office workers are reflected in a glass railing as they cross a street during lunch hour in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file
national

Japan's population declines to 127 mil, falling for 7th consecutive year

50 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

50 Comments
Login to comment

Low birth rates and among the longest life expectancies in the world.....

A recipe for disaster!

Not quite sure how Japan solves this problem, other than through some really radical, unthinkable solutions.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

@zones2surf

I disagree. Overpopulation is a worldwide problem. At some point the population will settle at lower figure, which can’t be a bad thing in terms of sustainability.

12 ( +22 / -10 )

Prefectures near the capital such as Kanagawa and Chiba were also among the gainers.

Getting on public transportations in Tokyo is getting more and more nightmarish (I’m also becoming an old fart).

14 ( +15 / -1 )

It's good that the total figure is now including non-Japanese residents.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Absolutely, Bungle. The public get daily brainwashing by the media to think that over-population is good, when all it's good for is to help maintain the illusion that the government's budget is not a giant Ponzi scheme.

Almost every problem that is associated with our planet, whether it's climate change, the destruction of marine life, air and water pollution, water shortages and wars, etc. would be vastly improved if we simply reduced our population. But some people continue to believe that maintaining the illusion of a healthy budget is more important than the survival of our species.

7 ( +18 / -11 )

Commandeer: then there is Soylent Green.

Anyways, it is not over-populated.

We just suck at managing resources.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Bungle: The world has more than enough resources to sustain the current population.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Tumble: Exactly.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The population decline is increasing exponentially. Population drop of well over a quarter of a million a year is no laughing matter. Also, if the population drop meant that Tokyo and the other major cities would be less crowded, then it would be a good thing. However, the drop is occuring in the rural areas, which in turn means that less money will be spent on public facilities such as transportation forcing more and more people to migrate to the large cities for work. The major cities will become more crowded and the outlying prefectures will be hollowed out.

This is not a good thing.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

The world has more than enough resources to sustain the current population.

No, it doesn't. That's made obvious by decline in marine life and other problems. Maybe we do just suck at managing our resources, but until we find a way to suck less we should take the common sense approach of reducing population.

Look at any chart of species populations and compare with human population charts. We are clearly over-populated and headed for a crash. We can do it the easy way or the hard way.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

*"It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue – but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption," says David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London.*

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160311-how-many-people-can-our-planet-really-support

10 ( +12 / -2 )

"He quotes Gandhi: "The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed."

That article focuses on specific areas (carbon footprint) while ignoring others. Even taken at face value, it proposes that the planet can support us all if we maintain exceptionally modest and sustainable lifestyles, and somehow purge ourselves of baser emotions like greed.

Solutions based on utopian ideals like these always make problems worse. Maybe humans will evolve and technology will as well. But not soon enough. Populations can be reduced, though - and population reduction accomplished in a peaceful and voluntary manner (as Japan is doing) should be applauded. Instead, it is being treated as a problem. This is what upsets me.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Excellent news! Better for environment, less strain on hospitals and schools,and will be easier to get a seat on the train. If trend continued, it would be good to have a population of 60 million eventually. Japan will remain strong with high living standard, and show the world smaller populations are best.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

If the government (who have had ample warning) was nimble and smart it's not a problem. This could be and should be a chance to enhance lifestyles change to a new model...I said change so that's not going to happen. Their Idea tax the remaining citizens and fleece them of any income make it legal to work them to death and tax them on their death. I would suggest a reduction of government departments. A plan to increase house /Land sizes without a penalty. And a smarter work force that has retaining, ongoing education. And time to spend with their family. It is possible. If you have smart leaders.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Which they are not!

The privileged and wealthy are the most detrimental to the planet-that is certainly not smart!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Excellent news! Better for environment, less strain on hospitals and schools,and will be easier to get a seat on the train.

Gambare Japan - I've just cut and pasted my previous comment to a similar comment you made on an earlier post population. Maybe you didn't read it or understand it. Here it is again.

Ganbare Japan - train and hotels are not charities - their aim is to make a profit. A smaller population will mean that train services etc., will be reduced accordingly, and hosptials will be fuller because of the larger proportion of old people.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Good. Needs to drop to around 80 million – with an expansive population pyramid.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The worry is not so much the size of the population, but its composition. Japan already uses a large chunk of tax to service existing debt and has no sovereign wealth fund in place for this aging of society.

If the idea is to increase the birthrate, the government should support children. As it is, it supports housewives married to salarymen. The free healthcare and a free pension a childless or grown-up-children housewife gets is more than a family with working parents will get in child benefit for two children. That makes no sense.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Not good when the numbers of old people continue to increase while the youngest people decrease eventually turning the country into what people also call Florida, "God's Waiting Room" with a very large number of old people waiting to die.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Bungle: The world has more than enough resources to sustain the current population.

Do you have scientific proof before I start wasting more?

It's not rocket science that with the lack of sex in this country, the lack of child services or financial child support this country is having less babies.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

For those who are whining about how great it is that Japan's population is decreasing because "the world is getting over-populated" and "there are not enough resources on the planet",...why don't you crawl over to India & china and tell them to stop producing so many of their kind?

You know? For the "good of the planet".

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@papigiulio

"with the lack of sex in this country" this country has a lot of sex just not for procreation more for stress relief.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The birthrate in India (2.4) and China (1.57) has come right down. The only continent with a high birthrate is Africa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is this why Abe keeps deferring any solution to Japan's child care crisis. It seems it's going to take care of itself although, it is creating a crisis at the other end of the scale with aged care. The private high schools are really feeling the pinch of the decreasing birth rate. Many have three-quarters or less students than capacity. Quite a few are addressing the decline in revenue by increasing class sizes and hiring fewer teachers. The school I worked at last year had 45-48 students in all the senior high classes with one teacher, which is utterly ridiculous because at least a dozen students are sitting so far to the front they cannot see the blackboard. Only public schools have a maximum of 38 students per class. Private high schools just stuff them in like cattle. Because of this, you can conclude that there will be a decline in education to match the decline in population.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Kobe

You're right, I should've said (sex to conceive).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Over population of what? Reading the above you'd think that the world is some sort of nirvana where nation states only care about harmonious human activities. Sovereign Nations, that's the world we live in. Japan wants more Japanese people, right?

Is it possible that when humans have all thier basic needs met then procreation has less of a evolutionary pull? I ask this because poverty has no problem in producing a lot of humans. This is a first world, wealthy nation problem.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan will remain strong with high living standard, and show the world smaller populations are best.

The world has already been shown smaller populations are best.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan's demographic collapse is a total disaster for the country, no matter what a few silly internet trolls may claim.

The definitive article is this one, The Death of Regional Cities, by Hiroya Masuda, former Governor of Iwate Prefecture. It paints a stark and depressing picture:

"...human resources in the medical and nursing care sectors that have been only supporting employment in regional areas are highly likely to start flowing out of regional areas to the Tokyo area. This development may even cause the complete elimination of employment opportunities for young people in regional areas."

"Moreover, of these municipalities, those with a population of less than 10,000 in 2040, which are highly likely to disappear in the future, numbered 523, or 29.1%, of the overall total. There are seven prefectures — Hokkaido, Aomori, Yamagata, Wakayama, Tottori, Shimane and Kochi — in which the number of these municipalities accounted for 50% or more of the total number (Figure 9)."

http://www.japanpolicyforum.jp/archives/politics/pt20140120152454.html

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Again, pace of decline is the problem.

Throwing most of the resources to old people is no future.

Outside wealthy lucky Japanese who are concentrating money with time, all the rest get less reward to work more and more.

One of my Japanese brother in law with 2 kids only works all year long and not able to refurbish his home...

Only the rich and the singles can ever afford the "high living standard of Japanese life".

I know because I have been in these categories before. No way for a standard family to have a balanced life.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is not news, it's an established demographic pattern. News is when something "new" happens.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Alfie-

that article is amazing! Really shines the light on the situation and explains it clearly and concisely. An EXCELLENT read. Thanks so much for that!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Aly

This article is even more depressing:

"Whither Japan? The latest projections of the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS) tell an astonishing tale. By 2045, 21.4 percent of the population will be 75 or over. The world has never seen anything like this. Children 14 and under will be swamped, submerged, accounting for a mere 10.7 percent.

The figures show all prefectures except Tokyo losing population — 32 prefectures shrinking more than 20 percent by 2045, Akita and Aomori most dramatically (41.2 percent and 37 percent respectively). Tokyo alone gains, and not much — 0.7 percent. The business weekly Shukan Diamond, whose report predates the release of the IPSS data, discerns the shape of things to come: Tokyo sucking the life out of the regions until all that’s left of the latter is “declining infrastructure, crumbling abandoned houses, and a remnant of old people, bewildered and unable to cope.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/14/national/media-national/japan-faces-prospect-losing-middle-class-war/

Grim.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue – but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption," says David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London.

Yes, it's over consumption that's the problem. Parts of the world eat too much, buy too much stuff then throw it away when they are bored.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If it is of help, I hope to retire to Japan in 2021

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Commanteer, you speak the truth. It's simple, but too many here have been indoctrinated by the very establishments that largely caused the problems.

It's easy to see that the world is overpopulated and that we are heading toward big problems because of it. Consumerism and capitalism are two big parts of the problem (but there is more to it than that).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Solutions need to come in the form of allowing citizens to have dual-citizenship in other countries, giving permanent residents voting rights, making the public sector jobs more attainable for immigrants (and equal pay for that matter), and incentives (tax) to live in the countryside over the urban centres. Of course these solutions are more about inclusion of the foreign populace and to make living in Japan more attractive. However, inclusion is a two-way street and I'm pretty sure the majority of the population of Japanese nationals wants none of this. Thus, immigration will not save the day.

My advice is to get out while you can and find a nice job back in your home country. The collapse here in imminent and the imbalance will only create higher taxes for those paying (foreign nationals included ... ahem with no voting rights) and a worthless pension system (which we also pay into).

It's quite a sad, but true reality.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Thanks to the over worked Japanese employees. Countless sexless marriages can't be an issue could it? Stressed out of their minds trying to raise a small family doesn't hurt population growth right?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@papigiulio

all good mate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Almost every problem that is associated with our planet, whether it's climate change, the destruction of marine life, air and water pollution, water shortages and wars, etc. would be vastly improved if we simply reduced our population. But some people continue to believe that maintaining the illusion of a healthy budget is more important than the survival of our species.

Yes. The talk about how the effects of population decline will be problematic do seem a little short-sighted and insular when you look at the bigger picture. We are trashing this planet and half-arsed measures to stop it are not cutting it.

Humans are verminous and their numbers need to be kept down.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan's demographic collapse is a total disaster for the country, no matter what a few silly internet trolls may claim.

If calling out fear-mongering propaganda makes me an internet troll, so be it. Judging from the upvotes, the fear mongering is working.

So from this definitive article, written by a Governor who no doubt is part of the problem of overspending that can only be cured by unlimited population growth and the destruction of the planet....

This development may even cause the complete elimination of employment opportunities for young people in regional areas."

"Moreover, of these municipalities, those with a population of less than 10,000 in 2040, which are highly likely to disappear in the future,

The first sentence presents a problem (if you believe it's a problem at all). The second sentence solves the problem! If there are no people in the municipalities, there is no need for employment opportunities, is there? Nor is there any need for expensive pork barrel projects for non-existent municipalities. The money saved means fewer taxpayers need to be born and milked to death.

Fewer towns means more room for nature, another boon to the environment. Fewer people means higher wages and lower home costs/rent. Read up on life in Europe in the centuries after the Black Plague reduced the population. It was vastly improved for most people.

Thank you for that rosy future!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

One of my Japanese brother in law with 2 kids

Shouldn't have kids if you cannot really afford them.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Australia, 24 million. Good lifestyle.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

If calling out fear-mongering propaganda makes me an internet troll, so be it.

I wasn't referring to you.

Japan's demographic collapse is a nightmare though. If you'd read either of the articles I posted you'd see why.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's demographic collapse is a nightmare though. If you'd read either of the articles I posted you'd see why.

I did, and it's honestly not a nightmare, at least not compared to the problems that an increasing population would bring. The "nightmare" brought by declining population is already in place, like rain on a deforested mountainside. The resulting landslide was not caused by the rain, because rain is unavoidable (and even desirable). It was caused by stripping the mountainside of natural vegetation.

That's Japan's public finances. They are a mess. There is no getting around that. Population growth will hide it for a while, but only for a while. And over-population is highly undesirable.

Yes, there will be some struggles, and it will be tough. That's what happens when people (and governments) spend more than they have - they eventually face bankruptcy.

But it will all be survivable. A destroyed planet... not so much.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@goodlucktoyou Australia, 24 million. Good lifestyle...So does Japan its what you make of it...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

People who believe that a growing global population presents no problems are living on cloud cuckoo land. Yes, Japan may face difficulties with a shrinking problem, but in the long run, this will be for the better for the environment and quality of life. As for Tokyo, the government should also do more to promote other prefectures.

Just look at countries like China, India or many other Asian countries - I cannot think of one major city that is not overcrowded. This sure must put pressure on the sewage system too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan must don't let that blacks and muslims enter to the country

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

africa, mid-eastern, india ARE THE OVERPOPULATED zones on the world

And NOBODY HERE talk about that

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Japan could easily attract quality immigrants from every corner of the globe if the labour market and working environment was a bit less hardcore. I have known a few expats live and work in Japan and they all loved it....apart from the overwork. Without exception, they loved Japan but just couldn't take the work environment.

Japan needs these people and others to settle into the country and have children.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some still bickers about Japan population decline = good.

Japan island could bear more population.

Plenty of improvement possible for agriculture productivity.

But it is not a target, it brings no specific value I believe.

Japan to get its population drop like a stone.

Many singles being spoilt, getting depressive problems. Married people being overwoked with other types of stress so that they cannot fulfill their happiness.

Japan debt per capita is a Damocles sword hanging over each of Nippon's citizens' head.

No one decides in the world who shall have kids and who should not : it is called Eugenics. You can count only on education to get a good family balance.

PS : I get fed up with people thinking money = right to have a kid. A child is not a product (I may not be here then).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites