Japan's population logs record drop in 2012

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  • 1

    David Quintero Navarro

    A record low 1,033,000 babies were born last year, against 1,245,000 deaths, resulting in a net drop of 212,000 in the nation’s population of about 126 million, according to figures from the ministry. The math is quite simple, have more babies than old folk dieing off, but Japan is not the same Japan of 100 years ago, working mostly on farms, heck it is not the same Japan of 50 years ago, many Japanese going to work for big Japanese companies, so Japan needs to REINVENT itself. What can Japan do better, cheaper and faster than China, etc..??

  • 0

    Akemi Mokoto

    Looks like this is a job for me. I'll fix this problem. (笑)

  • -1


    Japan is going to have to open up to more immigration.

  • 1

    Jader D' Avila

    only govt is worried with kids. the common japanese girl loves her way of life, with no kid, money to spend, time for her alone, once a year trip abroad, no husband to obbey. life has never been so good in japan. the other day the shimbun said that for the first time the japanese kid had a room all his own. that's a precious thing. keep shrinking japan. it is nice to be an only son, inherit the house, if possible inherit the job. who said 65 year old is almost dead? one foot in the grave? for someone who's gonna die with a hundred, there is still 35 years left. people work with their heads now, not the muscles. for muscles there's machines. instead of rotting in a care home, work. keep your head busy.

  • 2


    any suggestion of opening its borders to young workers who could help plug the population gap provokes strong reactions among the public.

    Japan really can be its own worst enemy sometimes. The obsession with keeping Japan "pure" is actually killing off the society. And as Jader points out, the young people, especially women, are much too self-absorbed to care.

  • 2


    Not only the reasons above, but now you have a right wing, pro business government who will just pressure people to work even more for less. People don't want to have kids as it is and with more pressure to work and less security couples will not be running to their beds to help with the population decline. The projected numbers could go down even further than imagined.

  • 11


    I would argue that its also the problem of not enough support for parents who are already here and willing to procreate. Many people will only have 1 child, because of financial reasons....

    The expense of giving birth to a child (even with the baby bonus) is insane, and coupled with lack of childcare facilities, expense of schooling, and daily living, is crippling for parents.

    As mentioned, some girls just dont want to marry, be a shufu and have kids, which is fine, but the government needs to do more to help those who DO.

  • 2


    I love Japan and its rich history. I hope that the culture that I have come to appreciate so much continues to grow and prosper far into the distant future.

  • 8


    Some japanese people I have talked to said it was because of the high cost of living in japan and the comparatively low salaries

  • 5


    rank07Jan. 02, 2013 - 10:20AM JST Some japanese people I have talked to said it was because of the high cost of living in japan and the comparatively low salaries------------------------------- That is exactly the reason. The basic hourly wage is so low, a person can't even rent a proper apartment .

  • 2


    The birth rate has not been sustainable (at least 2.1) for 40 years now. If the cool heads in Tokyo really wanted to do something about it, they have already had 40 years...

  • -5


    at the rate of 200K drop per year - that's 5 years to drop 1mill so to drop 20mill thus go below 100mil total it will take 100 years - i bet the birth/death/finance balance would be restored before that. Or world finances implode under astronomically stupid , but fictional, fiat debts as the fractional reserve banking system is designed to do - then every country can't afford to have babies....

  • 4


    No one seriously cares about the population drop, do they?

    If the government really cared, don't you think they would be doing more to encourage women to have children, like guaranteeing maternity leaves, opening more day care center for working women, financially supporting fertility treatment for infertile women, etc...

    The problem in squarely on the Japanese government for this problem. And the main reason is that old, ignorant male politicians keep getting re-elected to prominent positions in the government...

    You reap what you sow, which in this case is massive population drop!

  • 3


    psychopaths - Im not sure it really works that way.... as a larger percentage of people get old (at the moment its 20% over 65, but probably after about 20 years it will be 25-40%, as babyboomers get older) more people will die. And as the current workforce starts to retire, there will be less and less people waiting to take their places and be able to fund the pensions of these old people. Probably, there will be no such thing as a pension like we have now in 40-50 years, because it is just not fundable by the workforce anymore. (Better start saving now everyone..)

    And if everyone keeps only having 1 baby, (or none at all) then after about 50 years, when the people who are students now want to retire, the percentages of elderly vs workforce will be much higher. Taxes will soar for the younger generation, as they struggle to try to keep up with pension payments for those already retired.

    There will not be enough people to enter into caring for the elderly (there already is a massive shortage NOW) and more and more families will be forced to take care of their parents, despite being on a single home income (because the parents they are caring for only had one child, so no siblings to help share the burden.)

    The parents (who only had one child) will choose to send their child to university, to ensure they find an excellent job to help support them in their old age. As a result 'pink collar' jobs, like elderly care workers, nursery school teachers, nurses etc, will become very very hard to fill - as their salaries will remain very low.Already, companies in this field struggle to find people who are willing to do this kind of low paid, long working hours, occupation.

    However, "company employee" jobs will be paying much more than they are now just due to lack of people to fill them.

    I am no expert, but I would imagine in the next 20 years we will start seeing death figures in the millions, with births in the tens of thousands. The current government does NOT care, because it doesn't effect them - they will be long gone by the time these problems actually start to be a major problem.

  • 0


    This problem has been in plain sight for several decades now & the govt continues to do less than nothing!

    As others have mentioned, costs, time, quality etc are all issues coming to roost. If Japan doesnt re-invent itself in so many ways like I have been harping since forever the population I predict will spiral DOWNWARDS a lot quicker than any govt prediction!

    At some point yet to be hit the birthrate I think the J-population will decline drastically, with only the rich having a few kids, those that VERY strongly desire a family & lastly the majority of kids will be the result of young stupid people having unplanned kids making up the majority of new borns(and we have all seen those disasters all around us).

    No matter how you slice Japan is up a creek without a paddle, its getting worse day by day but its going to decline quicker than many predict imo.

  • 3


    Time perhaps for AKB48 to do a "having-babies-is-cool" campaign!

  • 2


    So, anybody that came to Japan in the last twenty years and anybody coming to Japan in the next thirty years will have to foot the bill for the farcicle and corrupt reign of terror and deceipt of the 50 year rule of the LDP. Where is all the money your corrupt old cronies ???

  • 0

    Herve Nmn L'Eisa

    The good news is that China has and has had a one-child policy for decades and will soon face worse on imbalance. Japan's birthrate has been falling since the 1950's. Once it fell below 3.0, the social welfare programs became not sustainable pyramid-like schemes. It's a slow fiscal death like bloodletting.

  • 0


    The obvious solution is for business to make smaller profit margins and pay more taxes and bigger salaries to working people.

  • 1

    Knox Harrington

    I don't really see what the big problem with Japan's population decreasing is per se... Sure, the Japan of today might disappear and that might scare some people. With less people - less consumers. Japan can no longer produce as many things and cars as they do today but if there were some brave fresh minded people in leading positions, they might be able to steer Japan towards other, more intangible businesses such as software, internet, etc. The problem, as I see it there seem to be very little innovation and innovation the outside world cares about.

    If you buy a TV in Japan, it can be used in Japan and Japan only. If you buy a TV in Europe, itcan be used in most European countries, with 10+ something language choices. A new, state of the art Japanese TV doesn't even offer English as an option for menu language, etc.

    No outside thinking at all. That is what is dangerous for Japan - not a population of 50-60 million people instead of 120 million.

  • 0

    Jan Claudius Weirauch

    Japan is like the Maya culture...sad story!

  • -1


    " any suggestion of opening its borders to young workers who could help plug the population gap provokes strong reactions among the public."

    Please provide evidence for this statement. The only strong reactions I've seen in over 25 years in this country against increasing immigration has been from the lunatic fringe of Japan's right wing. I do wish reporters would actually report at some point rather than parrot the idiocy that feeble-minded bureaucrats and neofascist parliamentarians feed them.

  • 1


    Warnerbro, I don't know how long you have been here but from what I've read, seen and heard over the years, the majority of people are strongly against immigration. They just don't vocalize it like many westerners do.

  • -2



    " Japan really can be its own worst enemy sometimes. The obsession with keeping Japan "pure" is actually killing off the society. "

    Killing the society? Hardly. Shrinking yes, but not killing. Just look at the alternative as practised in Europe: the obsession of keeping population numbers up, which leads to massive immigration of non-integratable aliens, that is what is killing the existing European societies. Japan is lucky in that regard.

  • -2


    Herve Nmn L'EisaJan. 02, 2013 - 04:38PM JST

    Once it fell below 3.0, the social welfare programs became not sustainable pyramid-like schemes. It's a slow fiscal death like bloodletting.

    These ponzi schemes that they call state pensions actually are one of the major reasons for lower birth rates! Just how do they expect young people to get married and have kids if companies can't provide decent wages because pensions take up 50% of their payments, and the government takes a third of what workers get in immediate taxes, and then 10% more from everything else. Add in expenses for medical care of the mother, and the eventual sum of 20 million yen a child costs until age 20 alone. That's a whopping 1 million yen a year average! No way in hell a young couple can support a family of 2.5 without both parents working and missing out on the prime time of youth. Facing having fun with a reasonable disposable income or not being able to ever afford their own lives, I think we can see why the population drops faster and faster as more elderly who live in relative luxury become a massive burden on those who can't even afford to start their own family.

  • 1


    At this rate I might be able to snag a seat on the Yamanote Line before I die.

  • 0


    As the country "greys", the number of deaths will NATURALLY be higher than the number of births. When the majority of your population is elderly, the deaths due to age-related complications are going to out-pace the births. This is probably going to be the "norm" for the near future until the ratio of elderly drops back down.

  • 0



    In 2011 around 200,000 deaths 19,000 of those from the 3/11 disaster

    In 2012

    212,000 deaths .....what is the cause of all these sudden 30,000 plus deaths?????

    These figures present an anomaly that has not been explained

    What will 2013 bring?

  • -2


    Ancient Rome had this same problem. They solved it, and Rome survived many centuries more. Being Roman meant something important to these people in their empire, as being Japanese is important to people in the Japanese Empire.

    Whenever a new Roman was born, it was a celebration worthy of "Boy's Day" in Japan. But what Rome did differently was elevate the status of the mother who had created this new Roman. In essence, it was a celebration of her, not the baby. Among her peers, she moved upwards in status with every child born. At gatherings, a woman who had birthed the most Romans was elevated above all others. At every public occasion, such as at the gladiator games, the woman who had birthed the most Romans was given a preferential seat.

    In Japan, every show on television should single out the mother in the audience who has had the most children. In such a manner, you can fixate the mentality of Japanese women into having children. Start recognizing the worth of women who have helped the empire survive by contributing the next generation of its citizens. Consequently, make child-care services available for FREE so that women can continue with their workaday lives while also bearing children for the empire.

    You cannot imagine how strong an incentive just "being popular" is. Bragging rights and recognition will make immigration unnecessary. Young men who are living with virtual girlfriends in their parents' homes will be found out by young women needing flesh-and-blood men to create their babies and, by wheedling and needling them, to provide for them. They will rejuvenate Japan within two decades with hearty and optimistic sons and daughters worthy of empire. Had you begun this two decades ago, you would not now be suffering another Lost Decade.


  • -2



    Haha nice one! But me thinks the times have changed some what over the years in case you havent noticed LOL!

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