“Japan is at a critical juncture to continue functioning as a society”: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s warning
“Japan is at a critical point in order to continue to function as a society.”
Those were the words spoken by the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio KishidaIn a speech to members of Congress, he warned against this A country may lose its viability due to a decline in the birth rate.
Fumio Kishida said it was a problem to be solved “now or never”.
It is estimated that Japan, with a population of 125 million, had a population of less than 800,000 births last year. In the seventies, this figure was more than two million.
Birth rates are declining in many countries, including Asian countries.
But The problem is particularly serious in Japanas life expectancy has risen in recent decades, which means that there are increasing numbers of older people and fewer and fewer workers paying into retirement.
Japan now has the second highest incidence in the world People older than 65, about 28%after a small state MonacoAccording to World Bank data.
“Focusing attention on policies related to children and parenting is an issue that cannot be waited or postponed,” Kishida told lawmakers.
Ultimately, he said, the government should double its spending on programs related to children. He hopes a new government agency will be set up in April to focus on the issue.
Japanese governments have tried to promote similar strategies before, But they didn’t succeed.
In 2020, researchers predict that Japan’s population will decrease from 128 million (2017) to Less than 53 million by the end of this century.
The current population is just under 125 million, according to official data.
The Asian country also implemented Strict immigration laws. But some experts now say the rules need to be made simpler to help tackle an aging society.
Declining birth rates are due to a variety of factors, including rising costs of living, more women entering education and employment, as well as greater access to contraceptives, leading many parents to choose to have fewer children.
Last week, China reported its first population decline in 60 years.
“Animosity toward immigration has not wavered.” Analysis by Robert Wingfield Hayes, BBC Japan correspondent
Japan is home to the largest population in the world, after tiny Monaco. Fewer births are recorded than ever before. By 2050, it may lose a fifth of its current population.
However, his hostility to immigration did not abate. Only about 3% of Japan’s population was born abroad, compared to 15% in the United Kingdom. In Europe and America, right-wing movements refer to him as a shining example of racial purity and social harmony.
But Japan is not as racially pure as these fans might think. There is the Hokkaido Ainu, south of Okinawa, half a million Koreans, and almost a million Chinese.
Then there are the Japanese children of a foreign parent, including my three children.
These bicultural children are known as “hafu” or halves, which is a pejorative term commonly heard here. Among them are celebrities and sports icons, such as tennis star Naomi Osaka.
Popular culture considers them to be among the “most beautiful and talented”. But it is one thing to be an idol and quite another to accept it.
This makes Japan an example of what is happening to a country that rejects immigration as a solution to declining fertility.
Real wages have not risen in 30 years. Revenues in South Korea and Taiwan have recoupled and even surpassed Japan.
But change seems elusive. In part, this is due to the rigid hierarchy that determines who holds the tools of power.
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