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 censusCurrently, 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 centurydropping 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 lawpractically 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 pensionsHealth 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 ruralremote 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.



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  • according to = as said by ...
  • although = while
  • announce = to say something officially
  • birth rate = the number of babies born per 1,000 people in a year
  • census = when the government counts the  number of people who live in a country
  • century = a hundred years
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • currently = at the moment, now
  • decade = ten years
  • decline = to go down
  • decrease = go down
  • distribute = spread
  • driving force = here: something that keeps the economy getting better
  • drop = go down
  • ease = to make something less difficult or strict
  • economy = the system of trade, industry and money in a country
  • effect = result
  • especially = above all
  • evenly = in the same way
  • experience = here: something that happens
  • face = deal with
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • growth = the way something grows
  • health care = the service that is responsible for the health of the  people in a country; it spends money for doctors and hospitals
  • immigration = going to a different country to live and work there
  • improve = get better
  • in addition = also
  • law = the rules a country has
  • nationwide = across the whole country
  • on average = normally, usually
  • pension = the money you get from the government  when you are too old to work anymore
  • persuade = to make someone believe that something is good for them
  • popular = liked by many people
  • populous = many people live in a place
  • practically = almost, nearly
  • recently = a short time ago
  • remote = faraway
  • rural = in the countryside
  • state = to say officially
  • strict = something that must be followed
  • support = here: earn money for
  • workforce = all the people who work in a country