Japan and its economy have been a pillar in not only Asia but also a foundation of the trans-pacific partnership. The country’s economy is ranked 3rd in terms of nominal GDP of 5.6 trillion dollars. It also boasts the world’s 11th largest population with about 127 million people who call the island nation home.
Japanese people are known for their determination and strong work ethic, most recently demonstrated with the country hosting the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. However, there are storm clouds on the horizon.
Japan has a rapidly ageing population with 28.7% of people currently 65 or older, along with this ageing population, current birth rates can’t keep up.
According to an EU briefing researched by Enrico D’Ambrogio, “Japan’s population is expected to drop from 127 million in 2015 to 88 million by 2065”. The briefing claims that as a result of such a drastic decrease in population could lead Japan into an economic crisis. This isn’t a recent phenomenon, birth rates haven’t increased since the 1970s and the government is still looking for solutions.
The briefing describes the consequences of an ageing population which has been exacerbated over so many decades. “The declining numbers of young people in the labour force has led to a shortage of workers in manufacturing and the ageing of the workforce has provoked a decline in production and innovation, and therefore a drop in Japan’s manufacturing exports as a share of global exports.” (D’Ambrogio) Things could get worse before they get better.
With past attempts failing to fix the problem, the world is watching to see if Japan can adjust perceptions towards raising a family whilst still maintaining productivity in the workplace. China and Korea will be watching intently as they will face similar problems in the near future. The rest of this decade will have a major contribution to what Japan’s future truly looks like…
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