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Even 100,000 immigrants would do little to ease the labor population decline and even that would be politically difficult. Immigration is unpopular. Abe still seems to flinch at the idea of accepting

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Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo. (Bloomberg)

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It's either immigration or a continuing spiral into the toilet....Delaying the inevitable is doing nobody any good.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Sad but true. Japan will continue to slide into an increasingly less and less meaningful position because of their fierce pride, which manifests itself as xenophobia. Compounded by the huge langauge barrier. I mean ask yourself, if you were a skilled professional/student who had aspirations of a career somewhere in the world, would you study English, the language of international business; Chinese, that has the world's largest population and a growing economy; or, Japanese, with just 130 million folks, and shrinking?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Dear would be immigrants, I suggest you stay where you are and contribute to the soon to be rapid development of your own country. Japanese don't like or want foreigners basically, there are some exceptions. You will be stared at, discriminated against, subject to bias and prejudice, and learning Japanese won't help very much because of the first points mentioned. This applies doubly or triply if you are not a white European.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

ViennaSausage2May. 30, 2014 - 08:49AM JST It's either immigration or a continuing spiral into the toilet....Delaying the inevitable is doing nobody any good.

But here's the bad news, it does actually do some people some good, namely Abe and his cronies. They're old, they just want to hang onto power for another five or six years, and they will probably be dead before the consequences of their bad decisions ruin Japan.

The ONLY people Abe's decisions benefit is Abe and his friends. And this is the problem with Japanese politics being led by fossils, it stifles any long-term thinking because the "leaders" are only focused on the next election and know they'll be dead and in a jar before they can be held accountable.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Reckless A bit harsh. I'd agree that Japan isn't the best at accepting foreigners and there are countries who make more of an effort to stamp out discrimination. I certainly don't want to spend the rest of my life in a country which isn't used to foreigners but in 14 years here I've rarely encountered real nastiness and I tend not to talk to or even think about the ignorant, insular types. I've paid off a mortgage in the UK and put away quite a bit of cash for early retirement in my time in Japan, met some wonderful Japanese people who will always be dear friends and generally enjoyed it. I'd recommend Japan to that extent.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Jimizo you make some good points. I fell out of bed on wrong side today. If you can overcome the bad points you may do well here and the tax burden is light compared to many other countries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Declining population is good news. Otherwise, the earth will run out of natural resources soon. It is sad to see so many here cannot accept the new reality, persisting to the economic expansionism that leads to environmental dead end.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

CH3CHO is exactly right, but that view won't be popular here. People will say, but how do we pay for all the retired people, and how do we pay off the debt? But these problems are insignificant compared with what we're doing to the planet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CH3CHO is exactly right,

dave -- no he's not, because Japan will not have the skilled professionals, especially health-care workers, to service the needs of its elderly. Or have you missed the fact that Japan is the ONLY industrialized country with 25% or more of its population over the age of 65? Or that Japanese women don't want to train in healthcare, like nursing, because they think those jobs are beneath them?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

By the year 2050, the country will need at least 30 million immigrants if the country is to survive in its current state otherwise there won't be enough workers to the taxes needed for pensions and health care.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Frungy got it right although I can't think of too many countries where elected leaders don't think in the short-term, fossils or not. I can't imagine a politician selling the argument about wiping out natural resources to destitute pensioners who spent a working lifetime paying into the system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CH3CHO, I agree with your comments about natural resources and the like. The issue here though is the pension and health care system. Frankly, I would love to stop paying both and be allowed to look after myself. As I don't have that option though, I am very worried about the money I am flushing down the toilet because of the population situation here. Frankly, if people had a little more sense and self reliance/responsibilty, it really wouldn't be such as issue. The sad fact is though, many, many Japanese in the 20s and 30s have little to no savings, no inventments or any idea about money and their future. When it comes time for these people to retire, it is going to be a serious issue because the pension will be a joke.

As for immigrants, I would suggest to anyone to move to Japan right now. Let's be honest, Japan doesn't want us and just wants to use us for money and labour. The government hasn't treated those of us here now all that well and having 100000s come in would just make problems worse. Very little forward thinking or planning for the future. If folks want to move and work abroad, there are many other countries who would treat them far better than Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

1st world problems. In some parts of the world there are likely to be water shortages within the next 25 years. So having less people in developed countries like Japan, where people use a disproportionate amount of energy and resources, is not a bad thing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If what Mr Ueno is saying is true, it seems Mr Abe cares more about his welfare than his country knowing in the near future it may not even be able to support its own economy. We know how he usually is but we'll never know if he will ever shape up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Retaining existing foreigners is more of a concern than new arrivals.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Politicians only think in 3 to 4 year lots, to the next election is about it. After that it all begins again, none have any long term plan or idea of much. To get re-elected is the primary concern.

Japan has serious issues to deal with in coming years but you surely must know japan is not alone on facing a changing and uncertain future.

I am grateful to be the age I am and at the stage in my life where I am now, and if things go to plan I will be out of here retired with a nice nest egg and collecting a suitable size pension in my homeland by the time the S H I T hits the fan here.

Good luck to the younger generation ya'll gonna need it lol.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

davestrousersMay. 30, 2014 - 01:26PM JST 1st world problems. In some parts of the world there are likely to be water shortages within the next 25 years. So having less people in developed countries like Japan, where people use a disproportionate amount of energy and resources, is not a bad thing.

I agree. The coming demographic imbalance will only affect 2 generations or so. Look at the low number of births today, there won't be many elders to care for in 80 years. I think a population decline is much more healthy for Japan and its self-sufficiency in the long-term.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

jerseyboyMay. 30, 2014 - 08:50AM JST Sad but true. Japan will continue to slide into an increasingly less and less meaningful position because of their fierce pride, which manifests itself as xenophobia.

Those favoring strong steps to curb population here first should think of the consequences. As the Japanese increasingly recognize, it’s better to experience some population growth than to become a giant nursing home. Gradual growing population may create social challenges, but a scenario of persistent decline and rapid aging seems far worse.

In the next few decades, unlike Japan, the U.S. will benefit from a baby boom. Over time it will translate into a growing workforce, sustained consumer spending and will likely spur new creative inputs. It should help U.S. to maintain a growing economy while its main competitors fade. By 2050 Europe’s economy could be half that of the U.S. As in Japan, European countries understand they cannot sustain prosperity with a steadily declining workforce. As you know, Japan have been far more resistant to immigration. Japan understands that rise of immigration in recent decades has led to growing European nativist movements. Many Europeans, including liberal ones, are less than happy about the long-term consequences of Muslim birth rates now three times higher than those of indigenous Europeans. The Muslim population of Europe could double by 2030 while the non-Muslims shrink by substantially .Without a sustained boost in baby-making among native Europeans, much of Europe may soon confront the prospect of an essentially Islamic future. This is why Japan resist increase in immigration.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Where's the evidence of any real damage caused by Japan's demographics? The "crisis" was supposed to start a few years ago, according to demographers.

In fact, Japan's GDP per capita since 2008 has outpaced most Western countries', an indication that living standards are rising.

I don't know about you, but I don't see any serious decline in Japan. Depopulation in farming villages, yes. But mostly I see ongoing development and improved infrastructure since when I first came to Japan. However, in the immigrant communities in suburban Paris or Los Angeles, for example, I've seen real misery, resentment and pessimism, which Japan has basically been able to avoid so far.

I think this demographics argument is kind of a farce.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Jeff,

You are naive. Open you eyes a bit. This country is 20% over 65 now. These people do not contribute to society, they have done their work. There are fewer and fewer young people to support the older population. Already government debt to support the aged is at 200% plus of annual GDP. Soon it will be 300% despite the tax increase. They yen will collapse along with your little world. When, not sure but at some point this will happen unless fundamental changes occur now in this country. No farce, fact.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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