politics

Abe: Japan's shrinking population not burden but incentive

43 Comments
By Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka

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"Abe has said he wants to halt the slide in Japan’s population at 100 million people by 2060" Sure he still see's himself in power then as well.

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

Abe is a child in an adult world.

4 ( +19 / -15 )

“I have absolutely no worries about Japan’s demography,”

Of course he doesn't give a crap, he himself is 62. He isnt the one to worry, the one's who need to worry about it are in their 20's and 30's and Abe doesnt give a shit about them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy is delusional. Sure, Abe, drones and robots are the solution to the demographic disaster! Just keep delaying any structural changes forever. The thing is, drones and robots cannot pay tax...

And BTW, what are Reuters thinking - since when has Abe been "His Excellency"? Or has Dear Leader started insisting on the title?

-2 ( +17 / -19 )

Abe is a delusional fantasist. Sometimes I think he seems to believe that just being Japanese is the solution to all problems.

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

Countries with small populations and low birthrates dominate the top rankings in surveys for socio-economic development. So, yeah, why not? Being bigger isn't being better, quite the opposite.

http://www.economist.com/news/21566430-where-be-born-2013-lottery-life

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Shrinking workforce? No problem. Mobilize grandma and grandpa to get out there and pick up the slack. Do Japanese people really buy any of this crap?

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Shrinking as long as finanzing is no problem.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan’s aging, shrinking >population is not a burden, but an incentive to boost >productivity through innovations like robots, wireless >sensors and Artificial Intelligence

So he's basically saying let's not worry about tackling the root of the problem. Instead we will figure out more ways to band-aid it?

Is this guy for real?

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

He's right - incentivizes me to get the hell out of here the minute I retire.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

I agree, the shrinking population is a good thing. It's delusional to expect a population to grow forever.

So he's basically saying let's not worry about tackling the root of the problem.

If by "root" you mean wasteful government spending and unsustainable debt, I agree. The government needs to shrink dramatically. Meanwhile, robots and stuff are fine.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Why the need to grow the economy at all? To what end does the Economy need to grow, if the population is shrinking? It's not like us worker bees actually see any of that increased money brought in.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

wow, I knew he was out of touch but these comments border on insanity. Companies remain stuck with useless unskilled oldies while there are insufficient numbers of incoming recruits.

And this "incentive" he mentions...it's only a benefit if you actually do something about it. You, Mr Abe are doing nothing (of any use) so it's hardly a positive is it?

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

@kyushubill

Abe is a child in an adult world.

You're the kid without a proper knowledge on how an economy works, Abe is doing the right thing, he is a respectable Prime Minister, Our leader.

@BurakuminDes

This guy is delusional. Sure, Abe, drones and robots are the solution to the demographic disaster! Just keep delaying any structural changes forever. The thing is, drones and robots cannot pay tax...

Kid stop it there. Structural changes ? Come on this is 2016, you think this is the 1960's, when an economy requires labour intensive methods for production to meet the demand and aid in economic growth ? Capital intensive methods are obviously gonna increase in the future not only in Japan but also other developed economies as well, where as labour intensive methods will keep decreasing and will take the demand for immigrants down along with it.

The thing is, drones and robots cannot pay tax

Come on dude, TAX ! ? What the hell ! First of all what is tax ?

a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers' income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

The thing is you don't understand the relationship between "workers' income tax" and tax on "business profits" when it comes to automation and robots that replaces humans. Of course this can only be applied to developed countries with diminishing or ageing population .

Robots and automation will obviously increase productivity by more than 10 to 100 or more times depending on the sort of job and technological advances, and so this will will boosts a company's revenue and also will have a great cut down on costs (Training & Education including induction training, Labour costs, Fringe benefits, The time workers aren't working due to human exhaustion, Holidays or sick leaves, and many more ) as a result companies that have invested will certainly have a great increase in their profits.

Now where do these profits go ?

You might think otherwise but governments (This is what happens in Japan) will increase tax on business revenue greatly enough and maybe sometimes more than that the aggregate workers in an average company that is labour intensive pays as tax to the government. Will this discourage business to switch back to labour ? Hell no as this will give the business a greater profit as there are no expenses on human resources (The most expensive resource). Japan as a developed country and a country with just only 3% unemployment does not require any structural changes and Abe understands this clearly so does most of LDP's MPs. With Japan's increase in Tax revenue Japan will further improve R&D on technology and also use them as incentives for fertility growth (Japanese government is already doing this)

Japan will not see any notable increase in foreign workers in the future, as the pace of automation in industries "in Japan" is much faster as automation is much efficient, cheaper, and faster (training vs programming) than human resources, this trend is becoming popular in Japan day by day, and human resources is losing it's demand in Japan fast. However this is not the only reason why Japan is loosing interest and demand in immigrants.

The other reason is offshoring, Most of the Japanese companies that tend to keep the tradition labour intensive manufacturing methods, are relocating their manufacturing plants to developing countries mainly to parts of South East Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Philippines, etc) as human resources in the home country is low and very expensive. This is also happening fast day by day and this is also erasing the demand for immigrants in a fast pace.

Automation is becoming popular day by day and is mainly targeted towards manufacturing plants, construction. Recently in service sector too for instant health cares (hospitals, etc) and restaurants.

Japan or South Korea will not see any structural change as automation and service sector robots and technology is erasing the demand for one.

There are restaurants here operated by robots, I am an accountant for a company in (Name declined) Oita, Nakatsu, Our company is doing great after it switched to capital intensive methods, the governments however takes a larger proportion of the profits but still our profits are greater than what it used to be before automation. I've been working here for 8 years and a lot of companies have switched to capital intensive methods and less and less companies now demand for manual labour, Our company only have a database of 104 worker profiles, though the manufacturing plant is big enough for 12,000 workers without automation as it used to be.

low skilled human resources are not required anymore and will keep loosing demand in the future.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

Wow. Abe is in a complete state of denial.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

why japan keeps voting for this party boggles my mind.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Will robots be able to pay taxes?

It would be great if robots could do that for us.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

He watched Gundam cartoons too much, maybe he is a big robot fans.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

abe is an idiot. without people there is no productivity. he only sees his hold on power. his legacy will be crap.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Meanwhile, robots and stuff are fine.

This just is not so.

Toru goes to the factory, does the job and gets paid. He then pays tax which puts a large percentage of his earnings into circulation. He buys a beer and ramen on the way home. Paying services and alcohol tax. Evey step of the way he is contributing (whether he likes it or not) to the economy which feeds all of us breeders.

Komatsu the robot stays in the factory and produces. The first thing he does is put Toru out of a job. Yes I know there are little fellows that run around reparing Komatsu kun, but he is so well built and healthy that he hardly needs them. Komatsu kun never steps out of the factoy to participate in the real economy. He doesn't pay tax and when he dies there is no funeral for him.

Only for Toru who has died poor and jobless.

As for freeing up the workforce to be more productive, that is a LIE. As for taking the dangerous and mindnumbing jobs, I pose the question; Why do we need lawyers when Komatsu kun can do their job at a fraction of the cost.

Gary will probably die poor and jobless and I don't expect Komatsu kun to come to my funeral.

Gary

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Abe is a child in an adult world.

What are your "adult proposals" for Japan? Criticizing Abe may make you feel good but criticism is not policy. Tell us what you think should be done.

abe is an idiot. without people there is no productivity. he only sees his hold on power. his legacy will be crap.

Productivity is (output) / (input). The less labor you use to produce a given output, the higher the productivity. Japanese automobile companies are highly productive because they have a relatively small labor input per automobile produced. Japanese banks are relatively inefficient (unproductive) because they employ people to do things that could be done by machines (computers).

No problem. Mobilize grandma and grandpa to get out there and pick up the slack. Do Japanese people really buy any of this crap?

To a degree, yes, becuase it is happening. Haven't you noticed the shift? Convenience stores, for example, are now hiring older workers that they previously would not consider. News reports on how companies are changing policies to make it easier for older (elderly) workers are quite common in the newspapers and in television news. Same with women. Women are much more common in blue collar jobs (construction, truck drivers, etc.) now than they were ten years ago.

So he's basically saying let's not worry about tackling the root of the problem. Instead we will figure out more ways to band-aid it? Is this guy for real?

He's as real as any politician, much more real than a certain POTUS candidate I can think of. Do you really expect him to say something like, "Hey people! We're screwed and there's nothing we can do about it."

15 ( +20 / -5 )

**Will robots be able to pay taxes?

It would be great if robots could do that for us.**

It's the Dadaist Utopia. Complete Automation freeing individuals to pursue artistic goals. Why not require to companies to pay robots a salary, and then tax their income at 100%.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Abe vowed that a task force he is convening will fill this gap

Would anyone like to guess the age range of the people in His Excellency's task force?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

So, what is Abe going to do about the massive deficits, increasing tax bills and no kids??? Many people are becoming unemployed due to the falling birth rate - maybe Abe hasn't noticed?

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Japanese method is the best immigration is no longer the answer ! Hope our country would do the same (U.S)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Abe is making effort to raise fertility not letting immigration trick us into believing that our population is growing which is delusional. Abe is one of the greatest prime minister.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Lol Immigration advocates are now hopeless yeah type what ever you want Japan isn't changing lol. Japan chose the right path

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@kurisupisu

So, what is Abe going to do about the massive deficits, increasing tax bills and no kids??? Many people are becoming unemployed due to the falling birth rate - maybe Abe hasn't noticed?

LOL! What is this ? " unemployed due to the falling birth rate ". Now you need to go school for a proper knowledge on economics.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

kurisupisu, dear how can one be unemployed when birth rate is falling ? this will increase demand for workers (Fact).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Robots will increase productivity more revenue for companies, less expenses so more profits. More tax revenue for governments. Wow this level of economic is basic. People these days. Immigration is no longer a solution.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Abe earned my respect, Immigration won't work Japan leads the world in fighting low fertility and aging population. Everyone should follow Japan as Immigration which is thought to be a solution in western countries won't work as this will not increase fertility only the population, Japan is moving toward a much more permanent system.

Japan love Japanese, Our countries in the EU loves money so they bring economic migrants. Shame on EU.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Boosting productivity is NOT important. Enabling people to make a living without a sword hanging over their heads is what is important.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Countries with small populations and low birthrates dominate the top rankings in surveys for socio-economic development. So, yeah, why not? Being bigger isn't being better, quite the opposite.

I'll paint a picture. In twenty years time the economy will not be even in the top ten globally. What we have here is incredibly warped cognitive dissonance that fails to realize that the ship has already sunk and the life jackets are sinking with it. Zeus save this land!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

People have been predicting Japan's downfall since I arrived here 20 years ago.

Eventually they will be right, as nothing lasts forever. But I doubt it will be because they knew what they were talking about. Just coincidence.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

but an incentive to boost productivity through innovations like robots, wireless sensors and Artificial Intelligence.

Aw, still no mention of immigration. Guess what Abe, that might've been a little bit true if you didn't put a huge burden on the remaining population by spending more that what the country can afford.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I question his honesty. The low state of politics allows for this chicanery. But that's same as it ever was. I don't expect things to change. Japan is a stubborn place. Plenty of Japanese academics and business leaders talk about reality. But upper management and bureaucrats don't have anything to gain by going out on a limb, by risking something. It's institutionally broken. No competition of ideas in politics and government. My question is: will Japan hang on, with it's big savings and ability to deliver big contracts for the big companies? Hang on long enough to lower expectations?...I mean is it going to crash at some point? With the high debt and expensive social systems and lack of efficiency, creativity and openness, will it crash? Or just sort of slowly become smaller, poorer and less powerful and interesting? Will there be a tipping point?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the abe fan-club fanatics at work here: look at all the BAD votes on anything anti-abe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People have been predicting Japan's downfall since I arrived here 20 years ago.

I can beat that. Baron's and other financial papers were carrying stores proclaiming doom for Japan in the early 1970s.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"“I have absolutely no worries about Japan’s demography,"

His biggest BS on the international stage to date, and he's had some doozies: empowering women, showing japanl's experience in humanitarian issues, Fukushima is under control, etc.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Komatsu the robot stays in the factory and produces. The first thing he does is put Toru out of a job.

Toru will do what people have always done - find another job. Or create his own job. Let's be honest, how great can your job be if a robot can do it better?

Technology has been replacing people's jobs since the industrial revolution, and life has only gotten better for most people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is little prospect of a fantasy world army of a futuristic cyborg robotic replacement for humanity, either for the application of health care or some advanced means of industrial production. Automation is focused on the operation or control of equipment to link disparate systems coupled with the development/ creation of applications technology to monitor or limit the need of continual maintenance. Outside of the harvesting lettuce, humanity will continue to be paramount to manufacturing goods and services.

Abe san is throwing down the gauntlet quote:through innovations like robots, wireless sensors and Artificial Intelligence to avoid ,circumvent the urgent political necessity to implement arrow number three. To effectually enact/establish the legislative regulatory framework to allow convergence of expectations, reform and restructure Japanese employment law, ending established court precedent that allow 60% lifetime employment rights at the expense of irregular employees to ensure that equal pay for equal work not just a sound bite but a reality.

Hi Player_Hatsu you are an accountant, assuming ACA accreditation, with a full log book, so you should be able to quantify production, consumption and aggregate capacity from the Financial Statistics of Social Security in Japan FY 2013 in comparison to FY 2016 as detailed on National Institute of Population and Social Security Research? There is no escape from reality!

http://www.ipss.go.jp/index-e.asp

At least from Kochi there is no capital intensive economic Hogwarts fictional wizardary world where one a waves a calculator waffling protego horribilis that will protect struggling companies from streamlining bloated work forces. I won't name the companies that resort to the rubber/chase out rooms to incentivise early retirement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As if it needs proving, health insurance premiums will go up 20,000 yen minimum from next fiscal year to deal with ballooning health care costs from the aging population and lack of money to fill the void.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a Japanese, there is one thing I want to say to Abe. "Grow our productivity" is not about robots but investment in broader means. The problem is that companies don't spend money but keep money. Japan is in money saving mentality. That's stopping Japan. That's why Bank of Japan is doing monetary easing like US and EU had done but still not working here in Japan, not enough. What Abe and BOJ is doing is right but not enough yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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