Japan’s demographic difficulties continue
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Japan’s demographic difficulties continue

New figures from Japan’s Health Ministry predict that the country’s population will decline by as much as 33% over the next 50 years. While the Japanese birth rate has troubled demographists and politicians for years, these new figures demonstrate just how dire the situation is. By 2065, around 38% of the population will be 60 or older, and those aged 14 and under will make up just 10% of the total.

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SOURCE: National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (Japan)

In February of last year, the Japanese population began making headlines, as figures emerged that showed the country’s 127 million-strong population had shrunk for the first time since records began. That year, under a million babies were born, despite government efforts to boost births through generous paternity leave, supported fertility treatment, and free preschool education.

Analysts remain confounded as to why the population is falling – although Japan is an extreme example of a demographic problem that is impacting many developed countries. Explanations range from empowered women waiting too long to settle down and have families, to frantic young men’s obsession with internet porn and virtual reality girlfriends.

Whatever the cause of Japan’s flagging birth rate, the reality of it is now undeniable. News stories from last year claimed that young Japanese had ‘gone off’ the idea of marriage and romance – sometimes claiming that it was too burdensome. That may well be the case: in 2016, one study claimed that as much as 40% of young single Japanese had never had sex.

Japan’s solution to a dearth of future workers is stereotypically technological, with the country leading the field in robotics and already employing ‘robotic carers’ for the elderly. But in the long-long-term, it will need to fix the root cause of the problem: otherwise, those robots will only be caring for themselves eventually.

Disclosure

Dominion holds a number of companies in the robotics, healthcare and artificial intelligence industries that are directly involved in solutions for the global ageing crisis.


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