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While an overall population reduction cannot be avoided, the country should work toward preventing an extreme population concentration in Tokyo.

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Former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda, who heads a study team on population decline. It estimates that by 2040, nearly 50% of all municipalities may have fewer than half as many young women as they did in 2010. (NHK)

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"...preventing an extreme population concentration in Tokyo" - you mean like now.

At 30+million in the Greater Tokyo area, it already has 1/4 of Japan's population.

People have been talking about this for decades, but as usual vested political & commercial interests always have their way.

De-centralization for the power mongers, means a diminishing control of the empire.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Once again, the problem is cultural. Business is traditionally done face-to-face, and when finalizing documents, they need to be stamped formally with a hanko. With companies spread all over the country, business people would have to travel a lot to negotiate and make agreements, and this would take time and expense. And that is why all of the larger businesses have gravitated to one place. Have you noticed how many bicycle messengers still work in Tokyo? The number of bike messengers in Europe and America fell dramatically with the invention of the fax machine. Despite being one of the most modern cities in the world, few places do business more slowly than Japan.

In other countries businesses can do most of their negotiating by telephone or video conferencing, signatures can be made electronically, or sent by fax. There is no real need to move one's business to New York, or London, or other large cities. The numbers of companies in these cities are mainly legacies of the old days when face-to-face meetings and original signatures were part of business.

Moving companies out of Tokyo to places where the cost of living is much lower, and there is more room, would do a lot to encourage people to have children and raise families. The government should do away with many of the arcane formalities required for basic business and paperwork, especially silly things like registered seals. In an era where we can contact anyone in the world instantly, regardless of time or place, it is absurd for the current situation to continue.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

There are so many great areas outside of Tokyo in Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, etc. and the use of email and teleconferencing. What a waste to keep crushing everything into Kansai with the awful commute.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sangetsu

Once again, the problem is cultural. Business is traditionally done face-to-face, and when finalizing documents, they need to be stamped formally with a hanko.

Never heard of using Takubin to courier stamped documents around? , many companies do business using this method.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Former internal affairs minister Hiroya Masuda, who heads a study team on population decline. It estimates that by 2040, nearly 50% of all municipalities may have fewer than half as many young women as they did in 2010. (NHK)

... did everyone just stop at the headline and fail to read this gem of sexism in the next line down? Read between the lines, they're worried that young women (known to Japanese politicians as "baby makers") will actually gain some financial freedom by moving to the big city and might actually become horror!! senior managers!!

Not a word about young men, because we all know it is their destiny to move to the big city, become rich and powerful and then have a home in the countryside where they occasionally visit their baby makers to impregnate them before heading back to the city to run Japan.

Utterly revolting sexism.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Actually Frungy, you will find that this is a rather common and serious situation in countries that have hollowed out countrysides throughout history. China is another country facing this problem (although the Chinese problem is even more exacerbated by the one child policy and the blowback on that). The US has some areas with similar problems.

Basically, if there is a city trend, more and more young women do move to the city, in greater proportion than the men. This leads to towns and small cities where the men outnumber the women by a rather large margin, with some towns in Alaska having a ratio of one woman to every four or five men.

The societal impacts of this are numerous. Firstly, the countryside men are unable to get married, as there just aren't enough available women. The young women who move to the city for employment, etc find that their marriage prospects are also diminished, as the situation is reversed.

In some areas, this problem has been papered over with mail order brides, but of course that brings in whole other issues including potential human trafficking.

So yes, the hollowing out of young women from the countryside is a greater problem than men leaving the countryside.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Never heard of using Takubin to courier stamped documents around?, many companies do business using this method.

And how long does this take? Overnight in each direction? For formal agreements you need not just the stamp, but the stamp registration certificate as well. I had to hunt all this down last week when I leased a new office. In America or Europe I would have simply signed my name on the dotted line, and been handed over the keys. I also had to provide a residency certificate as it appears that government-issued documents like my drivers license and residency card are not enough to prove who you are. And of course at the city office they have to look at my license and residency card to issue the residency certificate!

All of this takes time. You can spend time just like you spend money, but unlike lost money, lost time cannot be recovered.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hunt all this down, like as in what go to the local city hall or ward office,? Some hunt, its not that hard getting papers signed/stamped and couriered around overnight really.

If you do not like the system then change it or leave it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Moving companies out of Tokyo to places where the cost of living is much lower, and there is more room, would do a lot to encourage people to have children and raise families.

I live right next door to an old high school no longer in use that would make for a PERFECT office building. It already has all of the infrastructure built in, water, electric, etc., the only thing they would need to do is move. My city is about a 40 minute drive away from the nearest shinkansen station, too.

The inaka aint so bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they're worried that young women (known to Japanese politicians as "baby makers") will actually gain some financial freedom by moving to the big city and might actually become horror!! senior managers!!

No, I think it has something to do with the fact that even if a town is overpopulated with males, that two males cannot get together and make a baby to help slow down or reverse population decline.

You know, whatever you say, its the woman who carries the child around for nine months and needs time to rest after the birth. Plus you get hormonal changes and changes in viewpoint that come with an undertaking, such as suddenly feeling the desire to quit work and take of the little miracle full time.

I am sure the old men you speak of are more worried about money than they are about keeping women down. I am sure they could tolerate female CEOs if it meant more babies born to grow up to push the buttons and pull the levers. But the clear fact from world observation as that when a nation's women focus on having careers the birth rate drops. Kids can be a damper on a career and (sexism alert) males don't seem to be to good at child rearing even in the animal kingdom.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The easiest way to fix this situation is to begin to cut the number of seats in the diet in proportion to the decrease in population. Then you would see the politicians work their asses off to make sure their districts were safe. As it is now, the less people, the less they have to pay in bribes to get a few old farmers to vote for them. If I was a city dweller, I would be so angry at how unbalanced voting has become in Japan!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AGREE 1000000000%

Tokyo (and its surrounding areas) is ridiculously overpopulated - and only getting worse. In fact, more and more companies (eg. Panasonic) are starting to move their HQ to Tokyo. Why oh why?!

Trains are beyond unbearable. Tokyo at lunch time is also unbearable. 36 MILLION people all going for lunch at the same goddamn time. RIDICULOUS.

The problem is this (which I've had qualified through speaking with an analyst) - young people graduate and move to Tokyo for both their studies and future careers. Meanwhile, the population of their respective hometowns dwindles and will eventually become ghost towns. I know - I've lived in the countryside. The changes are more evident with each passing year.

These young people all rent one rooms / 1Ks and slage away at their jobs (been there too). For all its people, Tokyo can be a lonely place. Tangental, possibly - but it just exacerbates the increasingly dire situation here in Tokyo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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