Japanese Demographics

Extracted from TGL, 3 January 2007

It’s Worse Than Anyone Might Have Thought

Our long standing clients and readers know that we have been very, very concerned about the demographic melt-down that is taking place in far too many of the industrialised nations. Simply put, the nations of the industrialised world are not having nearly enough children. We are barely replicating ourselves at best in some instances, and in the worst, we are not coming even close to doing so. The US, barely replicating its population, is only really growing in population because of immigration. Indeed, were it not for the fact that immigration remains high here the US, the population would be growing hardly at all. In Canada, one can say the same. In Europe, Italy’s population is already reaching the “tipping point,” with in-migration negative and with the birth rate falling below what is needed to keep the population merely stagnant. The same can be said of France, of Germany, of Belgium, of the Netherlands et al.

Ah, but the real problem is in Japan, where the government long ago admitted that the population was on the road to collapse. The women of Japan have dropped out of the marriage pool, and even those women who are being married have removed themselves from the birthing pool. We’ve known that for a while, but now the data is coming in worse than the government had previously thought… and they’d previously thought the numbers were horrid.

Two weeks ago, the National Instituted of Population and Social Security Research issued its latest figures. Now the government believes that Japan’s population, presently at or near 128 million, will fall below 100 million by 2046. Only four years ago, the government felt that that level would not be hit until 2055. Further ,the report says that the fertility rate in Japan [Ed. Note: The Fertility Rate is the average number of children that a woman will give birth to in her lifetime.] will drop to 1.21 by 2013 from 1.26 in ’05 and an estimated 1.25 this year. The problem is that only four years ago, when the last real data was derived and the last figures were released, the fertility rate was thought to be 1.39 in 2055. By 2055, the government now believes that Japan’s population will be down to a mere 89.93 million.

Further, not only will the population be so much smaller, it will be demonstrably older. By 2055, the NIPSSR believes that fully 40% of the population will be older than 65, rising from 25.8 million people presently to 36.46 million then…. and remember, the population will be one third smaller than it is now. Further making matters worse, the number of “productive aged citizens,” detailed as those between 15-65 years old, will be falling, both in raw terms and in terms of the percentage of the population. In ’05, those of this rather large cohort will fall from 84.4 million to a shockingly small 45.95 million by ’55. In other words, presently there are 3.3 15-65 year olds for each individual over 65, but by 2055 that ratio will have fallen to 1.3:1.

China will be watching this development, aware of the fact that a steadily ageing and steadily falling population will not be a military force to be reckoned with. Nor will it be an economic force.. nor a political force… nor any force at all. We shall mince no words; Japan’s future, demographically, is really quite bleak and it is swiftly moving to becoming a small, unpopulated country that shall see its influence in the world wane rather swiftly in the coming years unless something is done very soon to allow massive immigration. That, sadly, we cannot imagine happening.