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By 2045, there will be 13% fewer workers per person in Japan. That means each worker would need to produce 13% more in terms of economic value to offset the decline and maintain current living standar

20 Comments

Richard Katz of The Oriental Economist, commenting on Japan's population decline (AP)

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Cut executive income to a tenth of the lowest salary, reduce working hours and you'll have a boost in economic productivity never seen before.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with Bernd about the working hours. Japan has a huge GDP and low unemployment rate but it also has a lower productivity per hour worked than Spain, Italy or France.

If they increased by 13%, they would surpass Italy but only reach the same level as Spain. They would need an increase in productivity (or cut in working hours) of about 35% to match France.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_hour_worked

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Foreign labour has got to come.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@timtak

I'm not sure foreign labour would increase productivity or living standards. Particularly if those foreign labourers just replace Japanese workers in low skilled/low productivity manufacturing jobs. Rather than bringing the workers to Japan, wouldn't it be better to move the factories to the workers?

Kawasaki was once the most industrialized and polluted city in the world. Most of those jobs have now moved to China over the past 30-40 years as Japan focused on more productive industries.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If that's true, then how do countries manage baby booms, when the ratio of economically engaged to unengaged can be similar?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I thought that automation was supposed to make up for the smaller work force.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That means each worker would need to produce 13% more in terms of economic value to offset the decline and maintain current living standards.

Don't see it happening. So many 'parasites' out there and this new generation seems to lack the same legendary drive and will to succeed which was very common in the generations immediately following World War II. The governments come in and out every few years and are devoid of any innovative new ideas. Birth rates are declining and people are getting married later, if at all. World famous and iconic companies facing bankruptcy and comparatively low productivity rates make for a sobering reality: serious reform is needed right now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Hellokitty, like the droid Pepper working as a greeter at the Softbank stores? Seems to have fizzled out already.

So this means by 2045, I will have to spend 13% less of my workday perusing websites like JT. Dang it!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's okay, the government will say that can offset the decline in productivity by deficit-spending 13% of taxpayer's money, give the money to Japan Inc, and roll over the debt a few cycles until the politicians who approved the measure die of old age. Those who are working in Japan in the middle of the century are in for tough times indeed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Some basic efficiency will do this quite easily.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well it is not as if Japanese companies are the most efficient to begin with. Look at all the paper waste there is with a note for this and a memo for that and faxes here and everywhere.

At least one hour a day is lost for meetings reiterating what is already on the notes, memos, and faxes.

If Japanese companies realized that email and network systems increase efficiency as this is the 21st century then an honest discussion could be had. As it is the same old one trick pony is trotted out, "But we Japanese do it this way." There lies the biggest hurdle to overcome - We have done it like this for for years and just can't imagine any different.

Japan has know about this for the last 10 years and in this time after all the government panels, commissions, and cute little mascots what has been decided ... wait for it ... here it comes ... NOTHING.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

His math is totally wrong.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

GNP (even per person) does not equal standard of living.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

economy isn't everything. I'm all pro immigration, buy when people say it is the only "escape" too Japan I simply can't agree. Japan works 24h a day, shifts, output pressures, produce, produce. (I've worked in many manual labors here including eletronic parts and lunch box factories) With population decreasing maybe the people might learn how to live more quiet, stressfre worklife without pressuring each other to produce more and more all the time.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This title is all wrong. Besides, the problem isn't GDP, but pension system and elderly care workforce.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

japanese workers could increase productivity 13% and still not be nearly as productive as western european or north american workers

get cracking boys and girls. sleeping in the office during business hours, lodging overnight under your desk etc, doesn't mean you're good at your job nor does it mean you're a hard worker.

once the lost generation of japan (the 45+ year olds) dies or or retires the country can finally start back on the track it was on at the beginning of the miracle recovery after ww2.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wrong. Workers do not need to produce "economic value" -- they just need to do their jobs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As others have mentioned, Japan's productivity is already quite low when compared to other western countries. With an increase of only 15% (not 13%) in 29 years, which is less than 0.5% increase per year, Japan would be left behind in the dust. Actually, much higher increases in productivity are required if Japan wants to keep up with the rest of the world. Japan has much bigger problems than the population decline.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

His math is totally wrong.

Yes, I question the premise (and math) as well. Not to mention 2045 is 30 years away, and impossible to make predictions for. Much of that workforce would not even be a twinkle in an eye yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think Japan has passed the event horizon. The last 5 years have seen a decline by around a million people. How do you offset that? The lastest figures indicate a yearly drop of 260,000 and this number is only going to increase per year. Even with mass immigration, the decline is now unavoidable. All they can do now is try to manage it as best as possible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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