Japan's Ageing Population


Japan's population is becoming older and older. Last year alone, Japanese population dropped by almost 300,000 to 127 million. Almost a quarter of the population is over 65, while the number of children under 14 has decreased to 13%. The new figures show that Japan has one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. By 2050 the population is projected to drop to 95 million.

Many causes are leading to Japan's decline in population. For one, birth rates are staggeringly low, 1.3 %, among the lowest of all developed countries. On the other side the baby boom generation of the 50s and 60s is reaching the retirement age. Strict immigration laws have also had an effect on Japan’s population as well as the decline of foreigners living in the country after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Only 2% of Japan’s people are foreigners, compared to well over 5% in many other western countries.

Japan’s government is trying to deal with the problem of an ageing society.  Welfare costs have gone up and medical costs are increasing. While more hospitals and doctors are needed there are fewer people in the work force who pay taxes. In addition life expectancy is among the highest in the world.

The population decline has hit rural areas most. In the countryside the elderly are left behind while the younger generation tends to move to the cities.

Japan’s couples have fewer babies because it means financial burdens they are not prepared to take on them. There are not enough day care centers to look after children as more and more women enter the workforce.

Population researchers claim the Japanese government is not doing enough for families. Having a child costs a lot and most Japanese couples can only make ends meet if husband and wife work. Many couples are not marrying until they are well over thirty, thus reducing the chances of having a baby. There are even those who favor a ban of abortion as a final measure.



Related Topics



  • abortion = the killing of an unborn child
  • ageing = becoming older
  • ban = stop, forbid
  • cause = reason
  • couple = man and woman
  • day care centre = place that has teachers and other adults who look after children while the parents are at work
  • deal with = handle
  • decline = go down
  • decrease = go down
  • developed countries = rich and industrialized countries of Europe, Asia and North America, as well as Australia
  • drop = go down
  • elderly = old people
  • figure = number
  • financial burden = here: more money that you have to pay and sometimes cannot afford
  • foreigner = person who comes from another country
  • government = people who rule a country
  • immigration law = rule that only lets you live and work in a country if you meet certain demands
  • in addition = also
  • life expectancy = the number of years that a person is expected to live (on average)
  • make ends meet = have enough money to live
  • measure = action
  • project = calculate to see what something will be in the future
  • reduce = if something goes down
  • researcher = person who studies the facts about something
  • retirement age = when you can stop working because you are too old
  • rural = countryside
  • staggering = amazing, surprising
  • strict = harsh, severe
  • tax = money that you must pay to the government  and which is used for public services
  • tend = are likely to , probably will
  • welfare = help that is given to people who are ill or if they have problems
  • work force = being employed or having work