Experts Raise Alarm as Japan’s Population Is Now Plummeting

Japan is suffering a population crisis, leaving experts fearing for the nation’s future as twice as many people are now dying as are being born.

The record number of deaths in Japan combined with falling birth rates is now causing the population to plummet.

The data for 2022 shows that the ratio of births to deaths has now reached a point that is a long way from the level that is required to maintain a stable population.

Experts are now raising the alarm over concerns that the nation’s shrinking population will become too small to support Japan’s economy.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has warned that Japan is now “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions.”

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health, the number of births registered in Japan plummeted to another record low last year.

It is the latest worrying statistic in a decades-long decline that the country’s authorities have failed to reverse, despite their extensive efforts.

The country saw just 799,728 births in 2022.

The figure is the lowest number on record and the first-ever dip below 800,000.

However, the number is about half of the number of deaths, which at more than 1.58 million, was a record high.

The number of births in Japan has nearly halved in the past 40 years.

In 1982, Japan recorded more than 1.5 million births.

At the time, the number of births was more than double the number of deaths.

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This ratio has since reversed.

Although the numbers have soared in the last couple of years, deaths have been outpacing births in Japan for the past 15 years.

Experts fear that this trend is unlikely to reverse ever again.

The crisis is now posing an existential problem for the leaders of the world’s third-largest economy.

They now face a ballooning elderly population, along with a shrinking workforce to fund pensions and health care as demand from the aging population surges.

Japan’s population has been in steady decline since its economic boom of the 1980s and stood at 125.5 million in 2021, according to the most recent government figures.

According to CNN, Japan’s fertility rate of 1.3 is far below the rate of 2.1 required to maintain a stable population, in the absence of immigration.

The country also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world; in 2020, nearly one in 1,500 people in Japan were age 100 or older, according to government data.

These concerning trends prompted a warning in January from Prime Minister Kishida.

“In thinking of the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation’s economy and society, we place child-rearing support as our most important policy,” Kishida said.

The PM added that Japan “simply cannot wait any longer” in solving the problem of its low birth and high death rate.

A new government agency will be set up in April to focus on the issue, with PM Kishida saying in January that he wants the government to double its spending on child-related programs.

But money alone might not be able to solve the multi-pronged problem, with various social factors contributing to the low birth rate.

Japan’s high cost of living, limited space, and lack of childcare support in cities make it difficult to raise children, meaning fewer couples are having kids.

Urban couples are also often far from extended family in other regions, who could help provide support.

In 2022, Japan was ranked one of the world’s most expensive places to raise a child, according to research from financial institution Jefferies.

And yet, the country’s economy has stalled since the early 1990s, meaning frustratingly low wages and little upward mobility.

In Japan, the average real annual household income declined from 6.59 million yen ($50,600) in 1995 to 5.64 million yen ($43,300) in 2020, according to 2021 data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Attitudes toward marriage and starting families have also shifted in recent years.

More couples putting off marriage and children during the pandemic.

An increasing number of young people are also now feeling increasingly pessimistic about the future.

It’s a familiar story throughout East Asia.

South Korea’s fertility rate — already the world’s lowest — dropped yet again last year in the latest setback to the country’s efforts to boost its declining population.

Meanwhile, China just lost its title as the world’s most populous country to India in January.

The shift came after China’s population shrank in 2022 for the first time since the 1960s.

READ MORE: Excess Deaths Among Young Adults Soar to Record High

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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