Japan's Population is Declining
For the first time in a hundred years Japan's population is declining. In the past 5 years it went down by 1 million people, according to a nationwide census. Currently, there are 127 million people living in Japan, the tenth most populous country in the world. According to United Nations reports , Japan will lose a third of its population by the end of the century, dropping to 83 million.
Japan has had one of the lowest birth rates in the western world for many years. Although the government has tried to persuade Japanese women to have more children, this has had little effect. On average, every Japanese woman has 1.4 babies. In addition, women are marrying at a later age and do not want to give up their jobs. Population experts have stated that the country needs a birth rate of at least 1.8 to stop population decline.
Another reason for Japan's population decrease is immigration. Because of the strict law, practically nobody can come to the country to live there. The government has been thinking about easing Japanese immigration rules, but this is not popular among the people.
Japan's low birth rate means that the country will face financial problems in the next decades. Japan's growing population has been a driving force behind its economy. In the future, there will be fewer people in the workforce and they will have to support millions of older citizens and pay for their pensions. Health care will also increase as the population gets older.
Population decrease is not evenly distributed across the country. While large cities like Tokyo are experiencing strong growth, people are leaving the rural, remote areas of the country. Especially younger workers are moving away, leaving the older population behind.
Other Asian countries have the same problems. In South Korea and China , for example, improving living conditions for many people are also leading to a decreasing population. As a result, China has recently announced that families are allowed to have two children again.
Japan's population growth and decline - Image: Jecowa
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