Friday, May 04, 2007

A demographic implosion in Japan

I know I write a lot about the looming problems with entitlement spending in the face of an aging population. But, believe it or not, the crisis in America is going to pale in comparison to Europe and Japan. Europe is going down the tubes because of socialist policies and lavish public benefits that nobody wants to cut. But Japan is facing a demographic challenge because of a low birth rate, which means fewer workers to support an aging population. Now from Japan Today (hat tip to Free Republic) comes this troubling portent of things to come:

The number of children below 15 in the nation came to 17.38 million as of April 1 for the 26th straight year of decline, accounting for a record-low 13.6% of the population, according to an internal affairs ministry population estimate released Friday.
Here's a BBC story from two years ago:

The decline in Japan's birth rate is so severe they have invented a word for it - 'shoshika', meaning a society without children.

Unless women here start having more babies, the population in Japan is expected to shrink more than 20% by the middle of this century. Nearly half would be elderly, placing impossible burdens on the health and pension systems.
Ironically, one of the things that may save America's bacon when it comes to entitlement spending is a large influx of immigrants who are leaving Europe and Asia to escape oppressive tax rates.


Vermont Woodchuck said...

Great! They voted for the mess in Yurp. Now that the place is melting, they want to come here. We have enough lefty loons in this country now.

let them do it like the lemmings. Jump in the water and start swimming. Those that make it can stay. No boats or floats!

Anonymous said...

The population aging will be a big challenge for Japan. This country is allready the "oldest" one with more deaths than births. The government will have to convince Japanese that they need more immigrants which will not be easy.
Frederic Serriere

Anonymous said...

It's not just the Japanese with a Total Fertility Rate(TFR) of 1.3. The South Koreans and Taiwan have even lower rates at 1.1 and the Chicoms are down to 1.6 (and I doubt that the continued exportation of girl babies are going to help the TFR). Macao and Hong Kong are even lower at 0.9 and 1.0. Even North Korea is barely at 2.0.

Instead of immigrants, the Japanese will probably continue to push robotics instead.