Do you know any Japanese people? If you do, you had better look fast, because they’re an endangered species.
According to the United Nations, every hour of the day and night there are thirty less Japanese in the world. By the end of this year, there will be 200,000 less, and by the year 2050, Japan will have lost nearly a quarter of its population.
Such is the legacy of a country which has so eagerly embraced materialism and the Culture of Death.
Japan is invaluable as a demographic laboratory because it is practically a closed system, with almost no emigration or immigration. Its 99 percent ethnically homogenous population gives us a rare glimpse of what the future holds for the entire world.
The problem is simple: Japanese women have virtually stopped having babies.
The total fertility rate, or TFR, is the number of children each woman must have in order for a nation to have a stable population. For an advanced nation like Japan, this is 2.1 children per woman. However, Japan’s population was the first in the world to dip beneath replacement fertility fully half a century ago (in 1960), and its TFR has continued to plunge. It now stands at an astonishing 1.1 children per woman (half that required for replacement), and will continue to decline to 0.6 children per woman by 2050.
When women stop having babies, the result is unavoidable ― the nation’s population briefly peaks, then declines. Japan’s population reached a maximum of 126.5 million two years ago, and is now one million less. This trend will accelerate until the nation is losing a million people a year.
A declining native population is not in and of itself a critical problem if a steady stream of immigrants is helping to replace the younger age groups that are not being replenished. This is currently the case in Singapore. However, Japan has always been extremely reluctant to allow foreigners to live within its borders, and makes it nearly impossible for them to live and work there. Less than one percent of foreigners who wish to live in Japan pass the mandatory language proficiency exams.
The result is that Japan is being severely pinched at both ends of the age spectrum. The numbers are stark in their ominous simplicity:
- The number of Japanese children under 15 has declined for thirty consecutive years, from 24% of the population to its current 13%. Japan now has less children than it did a century ago, in large part to the forty million abortions it has suffered since it legalized the practice under the Eugenic Protection Law in 1949. Due to the strong government push for women to enter the workforce in response to the economic downturn, fully 70 percent of single Japanese women now say they do not want to be married. The Japanese “business first” mentality sees having a child as a career-ending decision.
- The number of people over 65 has increased for sixty consecutive years, from a mere five percent of the population in 1952 to its current 23%, and is projected to increase to 43% by 2050. Japan is currently the oldest nation in the world, with an average age of 45, and this will increase to an incredible 60 years old by 2050.
- Thus, Japan has the greatest percentage of people over 65 of any nation in the world, and the lowest percentage of children under 15 of any nation in the world.
The combination of a shrinking young population and an exploding elderly population inevitably has profound economic implications.
To begin with, there are less and less workers supporting more and more retirees. In 1950, there were ten Japanese workers supporting each retired person. Now, there are just 2.5 workers supporting each retiree, compared to China’s 8:1 ratio. By 2050, each Japanese worker will have to support one retired person, the lowest worker:retiree support ratio in the world.
The inverted Japanese population pyramid (more elderly than young) also means far more pension and health care spending. Baby boomers are retiring now, and by 2025, 70% of government spending will be consumed by debt service and social security spending.
At the other end of the spectrum, less young people means less workers, which means less tax-derived income for the government. More spending plus less tax revenue means an increase in the public debt.
People concerned about the economy delay marriage and childbearing, and so a kind of demographic negative feedback loop, or “vicious cycle,” continues.
Since 1995, the Japanese government has tried everything to get women to have more babies, including greatly increased child care benefits, but without any result. In 2006, the “Year of the Dog,” former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said that “Dogs produce lots of puppies and, when they do, the pains of labor are easy.” The government even pays for so-called “speed dating.” But once you get people addicted to things and tell them for decades that babies are a burden, that they interfere with your wants and your needs, and they are bad for the environment, your nation is doomed. No nation in history has recovered from a total fertility rate as low as Japan’s.
The Lesson to be Learned
What may we learn from the ongoing slow-motion Japanese disaster?
Just as Japan is a closed system, so is the world. Just as Japan’s population leveled out and began to plunge, so will the world’s, and very soon. This will lead to gigantic economic consequences and human suffering on a scale never before known.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
Yet the population control cartel continues to abort, sterilize and contracept the people of the world just as fast as they can.
Worldwide demographic trends have the momentum of a supertanker. The world’s total fertility rate will hit replacement in just two years. Its population will peak in only three decades and then begin to decline. The time to end population control programs and promote larger families is now.
LifeNews.com Note: Brian Clowes is Director of Research and Training for Human Life International. He has travelled to over 50 nations worldwide, has written extensively in various media, and has written ten books, including the recently released Pro-Life Pastoral Handbook. With affiliates and associates in over 100 nations worldwide, HLI is the world’s largest international pro-life organization. A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2012 issue of The Wanderer.