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Japan’s population problem

by

Japanese leaders and Japanese people generally are well aware of their nation’s demographic challenges. The population has begun to decline and the proportion of people of working age continues to decrease. The birthrate is well below replacement level. Japanese people are aging fast while life expectancy continues to increase. The implications for the Japanese economy and for Japan’s position in the world should be obvious.

Yet Japanese political and business leaders prefer not to discuss the long-term issues. Is this because these are too difficult? Or is it because they don’t think that there is much they can do to alter the likely course of events? Or is it that they are too preoccupied with the day-to-day problems that face them? Or do they say to themselves that these issues can be safely left to their successors? Or do they, like the 18th century mistress of King Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour, simply say to themselves “apres nous le deluge” (after us comes the flood)?

Some steps are being taken to mitigate the problems facing Japan, but they are totally inadequate.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged business firms to employ more women and promote them to more senior positions, but he has had only limited success so far. The basic problem lies in the traditional attitudes of a male-dominated society that developed in a land where fighting was venerated and regarded as heroic. Confucian ethics emphasized the dominance of the male. That the mythological founder of Japan, Amaterasu, was a goddess was conveniently overlooked.

Employing more women will not in itself solve the problem. Women need to know that if they take time off to have babies they will not lose out in the competition for promotion as they do at present in most Japanese companies.

“Womenomics,” as the policy of employing more women has come to be called, requires the provision of more day care centers, but the provision of facilities will not solve the problem posed by the adherence of mothers-in-law in Japan to the concept that looking after one’s own children is the sine qua non of motherhood.

Young Japanese men are, it is said, becoming much more willing to undertake domestic chores in addition to taking their youngsters to visit Disneyland, but there are not yet many young Japanese men who will willingly become house husbands.

Another issue seems to be a decline in Japanese fertility. It has been suggested by some that one element in this is the continuing Japanese traditional disapproval of children born to unmarried mothers. Another is the trend toward later marriage and mothers not having their first child until they are in their late 30s. Others suggest that Japanese attitudes toward paid sex and pornography are also factors.

Even if a revolutionary change in such Japanese traditional attitudes can be engineered (and I am a little skeptical), it would take many years to work through the system and wouldn’t necessarily lead to the creation of a Japanese birthrate that will achieve a stable population.

In the meantime, the decline in the number of young Japanese people has implications for high schools and universities as well as for industry and commerce. It also means that it will become more and more difficult to fund pensions for old people and to find carers for them.

One way of coping with the declining number of young workers is to increase imports of finished goods from countries where wages are relatively low. Japan’s balance of payments is likely to allow this for some time to come.

Another way to deal with the likely shortage of labor is by increased use of robots. This is already happening and will certainly lead to a phasing out of certain white- and blue-collar jobs although the prognostications of SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son on this score seem overblown.

Ultimately, Japan will only survive and prosper if it alters its deep-seated prejudice against immigration. One argument against immigration is that it would alter significantly Japan’s homogeneous population with its shared values and harmonious consensus.

Although this argument has some force the implied picture of Japanese society is framed in tinsel. The Korean and Chinese minorities have been painted over, as have regional cultures such as those of the Ryukyu Islands and Hokkaido. It also ignores the existence of the Japanese diaspora in North and South America.

Does any Japanese leader have the courage to start arguing publicly and loudly for a relaxation of Japan’s at best illiberal immigration policies that are damaging to the nation’s economic and ultimately national interests? Some nurses have been admitted from the Philippines, but the stringent language tests have been a deterrent and Japan’s welcome mat for such necessary workers is restricted.

Fortunately for Japan, the refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East knocking down the doors into Europe are a long way away and are unlikely to be landing anytime soon on Japan’s shores. The Vietnamese boat refugees of the late 1970s are unlikely to come again, although no one knows what might happen if the North Korean tyranny were one day to explode. Japan has shamefully taken very few refugees despite the huge numbers living on a pittance in refugee camps throughout the world.

Japan faces massive demographic problems that will not go away. It is dangerous and selfish to leave it to future generations to find solutions. Like climate change, it behooves the leaders of this generation to face up to the challenges and start tackling the issues with vision and determination. For Japan the immediate requirement is to confront vigorously Japanese male and ethnic chauvinism and traditional prejudices.

Hugh Cortazzi served as Britain’s ambassador to Japan from 1980 to 1984.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    ”confront vigorously Japanese male and ethnic chauvinism and traditional prejudices”
    I’m doing my best Mr. Cortazzi, I’m doing my best.

  • Titan000

    Dismantling the last vestiges of Japanese patriarchy. Further exacerbating the problem.

  • Christina Tsuchida

    I hesitate to disagree with such a long-term knower of Japan, but there may be other possibilities to consider.
    For one thing, the lengthening of Japan-residents’ life-span is threatened by changing diet (Much more meat and sugar, for example, are featured everywhere. These are likely to increase heart-attacks and diabetes.) and now by germs resistant to antibiotics (Alas, children as well as the elderly are liable to perish sooner [this week’s Close-up GENDAI].).
    For another, Japan’s following of America into the hollowing out of manufacturing has led (through employment difficulties) to lowering the birth-rate. Without adequate salary, Japanese generally refrain from engendering children, as even compulsory education is far from free of expense.
    Historically, Japan has learned much from China and Korea (and through these from India, for example, Buddhism) as well as from the so-called West since the Meiji Restoration. Neither parochialism nor chauvinism prevented that fecundation of Japanese culture.

    Yet the world may be more complex now. To learn adequate Japanese skills merely for nursing work is no longer easy at the job, let alone on the test papers. No Florence Nightingale can today take off for Crimea without language skills. The more complex the job, the great the learning task. It is said foreign doctors abound in the USA, but English skills are much easier to come by than Japanese ones.
    Is it a hope of controlling the future that leads to believing an adjustment toward virtue (eschewing chauvinism, male-ist or Japan-centric) is the solution? What if the birth-rate here DID pick up suddenly? Where are the OB-GYN beds/doctors/midwives? What about the world population crunch, which is just about as Malthus feared, geometrically accelerating?

    Globally thinking, women have been offered education, except in some areas like Afghan-Pakistan, Sub-saharan Africa, etc., precisely to reduce the destructive pace of population explosion. Employment, too, has generally been prescribed to lure us away from procreating.
    Now like a goddess of earthly salvation, women in Japan are to fill the empty ranks of employees AND give birth more! The pedestal is high.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      Why, pray tell, are Japanese (I assume you mean language) skills much harder to come by than English ones? I know more non-Japanese with great Japanese language skills than vice-versa I can assure you? Surely you’re not flogging the old “Japanese is unique so you can’t understand it” routine. It’s a language; and like any other, a tool for communication which can be learned.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        English and Chinese (still in this order) are said to be taught nearly everywhere in the world. Yet have you not had a student go abroad to teach Japanese and find that all expenses and salary were paid BY HER? The availability of Japanese language study is far less than that of English.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        Of course, to be a doctor or a nurse requires not only learning programs but also ability. As an American fossil near the end of my meddling with this world, I am glad to hear that Perth has Japanese language programs. I know of only one self-paid Japanese teacher (in the USA), but husband has reports from many diverse countries that the demand and so the salary for Japanese language study is by no means as popular as life-sustaining sushi!!

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        In answer to your previous question, my Japanese teachers were all employed, and therefore paid, by my university, are you talking about people who just want to home-tutor?
        To me it seems the ‘problem’ you are referring to relates mostly to the U.S. and presumably a lack of second language classes. I’d say that’s more to do with Americans lack of desire to travel, or even own a passport (36% in 2012).

      • Christina Tsuchida

        The person I tutored in exchange for Japanese lessons taught at her own expense in a grade school in SE USA. Pupils were glad to learn and she got a good computer-related job on returning here. Yet, my husband reports pessimism about spreading Japanese ability abroad (he used to teach Japanese thought and culture). It seems we are loosing the “war” of self-defence in the area of attracting even more “human resources”.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        The person I tutored in exchange for Japanese lessons taught at her own expense in a grade school in SE USA. Pupils were glad to learn and she got a good computer-related job on returning here. Yet, my husband reports pessimism about spreading Japanese ability abroad (he used to teach Japanese thought and culture). It seems we are loosing the “war” of self-defence in the area of attracting even more “human resources”.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        So then you’re extrapolating from the experience of ONE Japanese teacher you met and assuming that NO overseas-living Japanese gets paid to teach? I can assure you that’s not the case. I’m not denying that you know someone who it occurred to, just saying that it’s not usual.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        It was reported often to my husband that in general overseas demand for Japanese language courses is very low and does not provide a living. He concluded that he had to limit his graduate students and discourage his undergraduates.
        He is graduate of University of Tokyo and a PhD from Harvard U.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        I wasn’t talking about availability, but ability. But Japanese language study was easily available where I grew up (in Perth, Western Australia, not THAT big a city). I think you might just be making an assumption here.

      • Steve Jackman

        “It’s a language; and like any other, a tool for communication.” Allow me to make a correction. I believe it should read, “Japanese is a language; and is a tool for non-communication.”

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Absolutely. ‘Modern’ Japanese language was established by the Meiji oligarchs based on the regional variations of Japanese of the ‘Han’ that they came from, and is now ‘standard Japanese’. These people weren’t stupid; they set up a political system that directly made them rich, and hid all their dubious political and business relationships under newly invented ‘concepts of Japaneseness’ that persist to this day (eg; it’s impolite for the Japanese masses to talk about religion, politics, and money- and who do you think that benefits?), so of course, they manipulated the creation of this ‘new standardized japanese’ language to deliberately (and in a manner that Orwell would recognize) take away and inhibit the cognitive processes of the masses. However, they never considered that future generations of japanese politicians would also suffer this effect.

  • Yuki

    I’m learning Japanese and will move there soon, so that’s one more person to help out :)

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      IMHO, learn Chinese, move to HK or Singapore.

  • Richard Solomon

    The demographic issues in the context of such a conservative, patriarchal society are a huge challenge indeed! I am more hopeful that so called ‘womenomics’ can help IF it is pursued more aggressively than it has been so far. PM Abe needs to lead by example: place more women on his cabinet and instruct the ministries in the government to promote more women into management and executive positions.

    He needs to set up tax incentives, not just voluntary programs, for corporations to hire and promote more women.

    He needs to greatly curtail, if not eliminate, the temporary, part time employment system being used in corporations in Japan. Women and men need to have the financial security of full time, permanent jobs if they are to be willing to marry and have children.

    Tax law needs to change so it is not so advantageous for young married women with a child to stay at home.

    There will be howls of protest if Abe does these kinds of things. But drastic, radical measures are needed. Does he understand this? Does he have the backbone to buck centuries of established cultural norms? Perhaps he should consult with his wife about what is needed?!?

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      At the risk of repeating part of what you said, how indeed can people be expected to start a family if they can’t be sure they’ll have a job in 6 months, and/or if it will pay anything more than basic living expenses? By no means unique to Japan, but other countries aren’t all Titanics heading for the iceberg of a shrinking population.

    • Steve Jackman

      These are all valid points, but even if implemented will make no difference. That is, unless the elephant in the room is addressed first, by which I mean, “it’s the culture, stupid!”.

      After all, it is this cultural programming in Japan from the earliest stages which leads a third or more of young Japanese women to openly proclaim that their preferred profession is to become a hostess or to be a housewife.

      Womenomics and the steps you outline may be fine if Japan is interested in only filling open positions with bodies. But, it’s not going to do anything to make Japan competitive again or to get it out of the secular decline its stuck in. For that to happen, it needs new and bold thinking, creativity, assertiveness and fresh blood, none of which Japanese women can provide unless there is a massive cultural shift in the country first (of course, there are a few exceptions to this, but not enough to move the needle in any meaningful way).

    • Steve Jackman

      These are all valid points, but even if implemented will make no difference. That is, unless the elephant in the room is addressed first, by which I mean, “it’s the culture, stupid!”.

      After all, it is this cultural programming in Japan from the earliest stages which leads a third or more of young Japanese women to openly proclaim that their preferred profession is to become a hostess or to be a housewife.

      Womenomics and the steps you outline may be fine if Japan is interested in only filling open positions with bodies. But, it’s not going to do anything to make Japan competitive again or to get it out of the secular decline its stuck in. For that to happen, it needs new and bold thinking, creativity, assertiveness and fresh blood, none of which Japanese women can provide unless there is a massive cultural shift in the country first (of course, there are a few exceptions to this, but not enough to move the needle in any meaningful way).

    • Christina Tsuchida

      I have only common sense on economic issues, but the income tax law has indeed removed the deduction for a non-working spouse (perhaps before the current administration).
      On part-time “dispatch” employment, even NHK, alleged to heed government frowns, showed up so many negative sides to the new law on the temporary workers’ system that it seems headed to DEFLATE wages. Abenomics is supposed to plea for higher wages to create price inflation!!

  • Richard Solomon

    The demographic issues in the context of such a conservative, patriarchal society are a huge challenge indeed! I am more hopeful that so called ‘womenomics’ can help IF it is pursued more aggressively than it has been so far. PM Abe needs to lead by example: place more women on his cabinet and instruct the ministries in the government to promote more women into management and executive positions.

    He needs to set up tax incentives, not just voluntary programs, for corporations to hire and promote more women.

    He needs to greatly curtail, if not eliminate, the temporary, part time employment system being used in corporations in Japan. Women and men need to have the financial security of full time, permanent jobs if they are to be willing to marry and have children.

    Tax law needs to change so it is not so advantageous for young married women with a child to stay at home.

    There will be howls of protest if Abe does these kinds of things. But drastic, radical measures are needed. Does he understand this? Does he have the backbone to buck centuries of established cultural norms? Perhaps he should consult with his wife about what is needed?!?

  • Tando

    Just for the record, Amaterasu is not the founder of Japan but Izanami and Izanagi. Chauvinism was incorporated already in the myth of origin of Japan.

    • Christina Tsuchida

      It has been decades since I read the Kojiki and Nihonshiki (is it?) where these appeared, but I think Amaterasu-o-mi-kami is said to be the creatrix and ancestor of Japan and the Imperial line. She may be the sun-goddess as her name means “illumine heaven”. Izanami and Izanagi (whose clue that it is best for the male partner to “invite” than for “she-who-invites” to take the initiative is reversed in currently popular public TV dramas by a repetitious theme of female initiatives in romances) appear and engender the race (the human race) after the archipelago was formed.
      The word “racist” is itself odd English. It has been proposed to use rather “racialist” for those who divide up the one race. Even as sociological realities, it seems unwise to use race for subdivisions of humanity (as in “black churches”, for example). Sociology changes rapidly without notice. Some USA medical statisticians may claim usefulness for so-called racial-profiling, but even medical personnel are culture-bound. Reports from So. Africa of the absurdities of apartheid laws (which would have divided say Pres. Obama from his mother and from his children as well as from his wife) as well as introductory physical anthropology show up the indivisibility of the one race.

      • Tando

        According to Kojiki and Nihonshoki, Izanami gave birth to the many islands of Japan fathered by Izanagi. But their first mating resulted in a malformed offspring。By divination it was declared that the reason for this was that Izanami, the women had spoken before Izanagi the man. After they changed the order everything went smooth. Amaterasu came into being after Izanagi tried to rescue Izanami from the orcus. Amaterasu is the ancestral deity of the Emperor lineage. But the extension to the Japanese in general was a result of Kokka Shinto after the Meiji Restoration which created the myth of one big national family with the imperial household in the centre. Already the Kojiki is said to be composed in a way to reflect the power structure in this world, meaning that the relation between several competing clans was mirrored by the relation of their clan deities.

      • Christina Tsuchida

        “Tando” may well be right. I have only introductory knowledge of Japan religion, and that only in English translation. Yet, after living here thirty years it seems to me most people do not read these books. Certainly, the Kojiki and Nihonshiki are not like the Bhagavad Gita or the Bible were/are. One cannot call folks “back to the Kojiki” as if it were a moral imperative!!

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      In one of Turnbull’s books, he states that Amaterasu was ‘violated’ by her brother and his in a cave out of shame. I can’t imagine why the Japanese would seek to obscure that part of the myth (and it is all a myth, so really, who cares?)?

      • Tando

        May I ask why you think that the story of Amaterasu hiding in a cave because she was upset with her brother Susano O should have been obscured. Everybody here knows this story and it is the basis of many Shinto rituals. Please do a bit more thorough research before you coment on any aspect of Japanese life. As for the myth, I mentioned already that they may provide a clue to the real world power structure among prominent clans at the time.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      In one of Turnbull’s books, he states that Amaterasu was ‘violated’ by her brother and his in a cave out of shame. I can’t imagine why the Japanese would seek to obscure that part of the myth (and it is all a myth, so really, who cares?)?

  • Carl pot

    ethnic chauvinism?, you surely mean racism?. if the article was about Germany, Australia or the UK you would have called “racism”. what’s the difference?.

    • Steve Jackman

      I noticed that too. Japan is simply an extremely racist and xenophobic country. There’s just no getting around this fact.

      • Carl pot

        Too right, black or white, not complicated at all. I wonder how many skinny soy lattes the author had to drink to come up with such political correct and bizarre conclusion about a subject he probably doesn’t know much about.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Ah, c’mon, give the guy a break. If he just outright called Japan racist, he’d be correct, but the Japanese embassy would have sent some shady characters straight over to his office without an appointment to explain to him that it was ‘regrettable’ that he had an ‘incorrect’ understanding of the issue, and suggested that he made a retraction. If he’d have resisted this intimidation (as he rightly should), the Japanese would have hounded his boss, and his employers, accusing them of hiring an anti-Japanese racist, and then told anyone who is listening that this guy was secretly on the payroll of the Chinese government.
        That is, after all what they did with that US textbook guy, and the German journalist.

      • Steve Jackman

        That is an excellent comment. Unfortunately, it is also a sad reminder of how the Japanese tactics of intimidation, smearing, bullying and harassment of anyone critical of Japan are actually working by forcing journalists and others to self-censor their coverage of Japan.

        Sir Hugh Cortazzi is an experienced and distinguished diplomat, author and Japonologist. I have tremendous respect for his honest and insightful work on Japan. Yet, if even someone like Sir Hugh feels compelled to self-sensor and sugar coat his opinions on Japan, one can just imagine what impact Japan’s tactics have on much younger and less experienced people who write on Japan.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Steve, the Japanese right-wing are so insecure of, well, just about everything, that their readiness to resort to all manner of disgusting activities up to and including violence has no doubt served Japan well in helping to conceal the nasty truth of Japan’s ‘liberal democracy’.
        We know better ;)

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Steve, the Japanese right-wing are so insecure of, well, just about everything, that their readiness to resort to all manner of disgusting activities up to and including violence has no doubt served Japan well in helping to conceal the nasty truth of Japan’s ‘liberal democracy’.
        We know better ;)

      • Carl pot

        Yeah. that in a nutshell, explains why the Japanese nation inevitably is in such decline. Too closed, too xenophobic. I have lived and worked in Japan for 2 years and have first hand experience on this matter. Seems like the Japanese female population are more open and inclusive than their male counterparts.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        Yeah, I’d agree with that. Speaking only for my wife and I, my wife likes that she doesn’t have to ‘ask my permission’ to have a social life. I think that since Japan ranks lower than 100 for gender equality, many Japanese women are turned off by Japanese misogyny which can’t even offer them the security of a salaryman’s ‘job for life’ paycheck these days. Given that Japanese women’s options are so limited in japan, it’s no wonder that so many are interested in exploring something else.
        Interestingly, I remember that about 10 years ago, the largest number of international marriages in Japan was between Japanese men and Chinese ladies. I don’t know how that is now, but I think that maybe many Chinese ladies saw Japan as a step up in quality of life, and were happy to play ‘mother’ to Japanese husbands who couldn’t entice a Japanese woman to do so. Who knows?

      • Hendrix

        Indeed , for Japanese women the penny has dropped and they have realized that staying single is much better than a life of drudgery and putting up with the chauvinism from Japanese men. Also having kids out of wedlock is still frowned upon ( another example of how archaic Japan is) , so the birth rate has virtually ground to a halt in Japan. The blame for Japan’s dysfunction lays at the feet of the mollycoddled babies that pass themselves off as Japanese men.

      • Carl pot

        Too right, black or white, not complicated at all. I wonder how many skinny soy lattes the author had to drink to come up with such political correct and bizarre conclusion about a subject he probably doesn’t know much about.

      • Carl pot

        Too right, black or white, not complicated at all. I wonder how many skinny soy lattes the author had to drink to come up with such political correct and bizarre conclusion about a subject he probably doesn’t know much about.

      • Carl pot

        Too right, black or white, not complicated at all. I wonder how many skinny soy lattes the author had to drink to come up with such political correct and bizarre conclusion about a subject he probably doesn’t know much about.

      • Carl pot

        Too right, black or white, not complicated at all. I wonder how many skinny soy lattes the author had to drink to come up with such political correct and bizarre conclusion about a subject he probably doesn’t know much about.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        If I remember correctly, you live in Japan. If she is such a horrible and hard country for a foreigner to live in, why don’t you move to another country?

    • Ahojanen

      I see racism as an institutionalized ideology which has gone embedded in society over time. This being the case, Japanese society seems rather naive or primitive in racial issues, but not racist or xenophobic.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        I disagree. Japan’s racism is institutionalized in the fact that it’s politicians make racist comments without reproach, and thereby set the tone for a society where discriminatory practices are rampant, and there is no legal recourse against them for NJ since they are not Japanese. This is defined in the constitution, and therefore is the very definition of ‘institutionalized racism’.

      • Ahojanen

        It’s a matter of degree, and relative comparison to cases in other countries. In other words, it’s quite difficult, almost impossible, to pick up a society (real one) without any form of discrimination. I’ve been overseas over decades in many communities of several countries. As an “alien” I have recognised the institutionalized racism (which does not directly affect me, though). Some are even systemic.

        it’s politicians make racist comments without reproach, and thereby set the tone for a society where discriminatory practices are rampant, and there is no legal recourse against them for NJ since they are not Japanese.

        I’m currently living in a country often referred as “the least racist or prejudiced society” measured in several global indices. Yet there are still cases about what you are exactly mentioning. Not really isolated or exceptional ones.

        I never say there is no racism in Japan. Things are still pretty moderate and right now bigger chances of reform for a better society to both mainstream Japanese and minority groups including newcomers.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        A country is institutionally racist, or it isn’t. There are no ‘degrees of racism’. Japan is institutionally racist, but like an alcoholic, it’s very good at hiding its problem when others are watching.

      • Hendrix

        good analogy, just like an alcoholic who hides his or her problem, Japan too hides its dark side very well and fools the world under the guise of cultural superiority that most people seem to lap up without question.

      • Steve Jackman

        “This being the case, Japanese society seems rather naive or primitive in racial issues, but not racist or xenophobic.” You could not be more wrong. That’s like saying pre-war Germany was just naive about racial issues. The Japanese know fully well how racist and xenophobic they are, but have no desire to change.

  • Steve Jackman

    Yes, Japan needs immigrants, but immigrants don’t need Japan (at least, not the type of high potential immigrants Japan needs and could benefit from most). There is a window of opportunity for everything and this window has closed.

    Japan offers low salaries, low standard of living, almost no career development or advancement opportunities and a society which is extremely parochial, racist and xenophobic. It is not an attractive destination for highly educated, skilled professionals. Countries attract the immigrants they deserve.

    Sure, it may attract low skilled economic migrants, but robots are better suited for such jobs in Japan, given its history of abusing and exploiting these vulnerable immigrants.

  • Christina Tsuchida

    Informal power is irresponsible power. The wife of the severely ill US President (was it Woodrow Wilson?) who ruled the country is an example.
    Allegedly 101st among nations regarding FORMAL power for women, Japan is really different I think.
    USA feminists have claimed that putting women on a pedestal as the Great Mother or even as the Blessed Virgin Mary makes for servitude in the case of real human women. I am not sure this is true here in Japan.
    To give an extreme example of informal power, consider the mother of Charles Manson a USA serial killer. I never read about him, but I read that she wakes up miserable every morning to the cold fact that she is the mother of such a child.
    In Japan, on the contrary, mothers are pinpricked from earliest times to communicate with and foster well our children. I think children are taught that their failings reflect on their moms.
    Further, consider the usual consumer over here: typically a middle-aged or elderly female, spending the cash hard earned by husband or son.
    Finally, to address several comments at once made in this place: women are not robots who can be programmed to make babies or go to work at the whim of the masterminds. Once educated (unless cell phones erase literacy by terminating handwritten Japanese), women use our own minds.

  • PRADEEP CHATURVEDI

    JAPAN can issue WORK/TOURIST VISAS to Indians who can fill the gap of shortage of workforce for at least couple of decades. India is teeming with extra babies and a lot of unemployment fuelling discontent and resent among the youth.JAPAN needs extra hands on an urgent basis. They can issue short-term TOURIST VISAS to Indians who can work for say 1 year and can come back. That will help both the nations. JAPAN-INDIA are friends for more than 1,000 years.

    • Christina Tsuchida

      Is Pradeep CHATURVEDI proposing a sort of “guest-worker” program? I fear that would help neither the guests nor Japan. Even “difficult, dirty and dangerous” work, said to be available to the lowliest, is more dangerous and may be impossibly difficult without language skills. (How much more, more decent work!)
      I have no experience teaching (say) German to a speaker of Turkish or Arabic, but I can imagine it would be much easier than teaching Japanese to English or Hindi speakers (I have studied Sanskrit: it only helped with the order of the Japanese syllabary, which reflects Buddhism’s grammar tradition!!).
      JT archives are full of reports of disappointed “interns” who come from the south to do work/study and feel exploited.
      Do you all really want to pay into the pension fund? (I think perhaps one need not, but then one loses in one’s home country the lapsed payments, perhaps?) That alone does not help anyway, as long-term commitment is needed for the elderly.

  • Christina Tsuchida

    Another issue related to the population decline in younger Japan is artificial contraception. Alleged government pressure requires university teachers who have patiently lived with natural family planning for a lifetime to preach the benefits of condoms, in order to “save students from STDs”. Even as a wife, I was accosted by a woman related to my husband’s university with the theme of renouncing public witness to such natural methods (she may have assumed all Catholics are NFPlanners).

    I cannot help wondering whether acceding to this pressure has not led to false shaming of teachers by those who ascribe to some imagined deviation in their lifestyle what I think is like sending the young into battle from a safe armchair. Condoms are not 100% effective as contraception. So they only protect a statistical majority from HIV, penicillin-resistant gonorrhea, etc. Better to teach abstinence outside marriage and periodic abstinence for spacing births than to give false confidence to dangerous promiscuity, if you really want to help all the students.

    (I am not up on GLBT rights–I want to add “straights” and make it GLBTS!–but STD meaning Sexually Transmitted Disease could also read “Saliva Transmitted Disease”. The ancients’ method of making baby-food by parental chewing and disgorging into the infants’ mouths is gross to us now. Saliva does not transmit immunities with the germs, according to a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford.)

    America, where unwed partners (even if one counts only straights) outnumber wedded couples, DOES have a shrinking population.

  • disqus_liE4QIJiMO

    After living in Japan some decades I’d say let the old minds die out and in a short time immigration will be a reality. For sure no changes will be considered without the ‘kuro fune’ phenomenon kicking in from outside Japan’s walls. Japan, Inc cannot change on its own. This is law. This is history. The first time it was an economic breakdown of its walls, the second will be more internal, the mind, spirit. A new Japan will be born. Robots are a tantalizing solution for the xenophobic elders, but young Japan may not care as much. Who’s going to pay for the massive infrastructure maintenance that’s needed? With lower wages, it’ll be the 30 million foreigners Abe is inviting to Japan. They’re also being encouraged to visit local places. Nothing of great value to experience there, but foreign currency spent on shinkansens, hotels, etc will help local economies.

    Japanese don’t learn. They don’t change, unless by force. Schools are made more to Japanize then to create citizens of the world. Whatever, well before the Olympics in 2020 we should see a breakdown, either of policy or of our society.

  • Adrian Ah

    Let me ask another question- what’s wrong with letting it stay the same?

    If nothing is done, then for a few decades, there will be a huge age imbalance, but it will pass and the elderly will pass away.

    Sure, the population numbers will be much lower than they are today, but again, is that a bad thing?

    If Japan opens it’s doors and allows, say, 20 million foreigners from South East Asia in, there will quite a change in attitudes, language (no one else speaks Japanese as a national language), even if they keep the race Asian.

    What about letting in 20 million Mainland Chinese in? Sure they look the same, but they are so far apart culturally (look at the large number of well behaving PRC people on airplanes and overseas) that I’d be surprised if the Japanese didn’t riot.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      What’s wrong with letting it stay the same?
      Well, in a nutshell, in about another 20 years there won’t be enough tax payers to pay pensions for all the old people, and not enough nurses to wipe their butts.

  • zer0_0zor0

    This statement is oxymorinc.

    Ultimately, Japan will only survive and prosper if it alters its deep-seated prejudice against immigration.

    What a worthless article. Japan is already overpopulated, with half as many people as the USA in a land that is 9/10ths the size of California, with limited resources.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      No, there’s nothing oxymoronic about that statement, unless you are a racist who believes Japanese blood homogeneity myths.

      • zer0_0zor0

        The question of preserving Japanese language, customs and culture, which is the basis of Japan’s immigration policies.

        Why divert the focus to the statements of right-wing fringe element?

        Japan should do whatever is legitimate to prevent immigration of the hordes of wealthy Americans and the Chinese trying to take their ill-gotten money and run from their corrupt countries , in addition immigrants from third-world countries.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        You’re making a straw-man argument that the only people who will immigrate are either kleptocrats or from the third world. I was neither. Now I am Japanese, have Japanese kids, a business, pay two Japanese employees salaries, and we all pay tax. This is good for Japan, no?
        As for language, have you never read Swift? Language is always in a constant state of change. Customs and culture? Have you never read Hobspawm & Ranger? These things are ‘invented’ systems of social control. When they stifle and suffocate a society, shouldn’t a society change it’s customs and culture? Are you seriously proposing that Japanese men should grown top-knots, and should all wear kimono, and go about in rickshaws? If not, then who gets to decide what ‘culture & customs’ must be preserved, and which ones can be changed?

      • zer0_0zor0

        Well, I’ve been here for eighteen years, and I’ve seen the influx of “kleptocrats” in the finance sector and noted a huge presence of intelligence officers from a wide array of Western countries. None of them belong here.
        Of course I have no problem with people immigrating to Japan in an authentic manner, as it appears that you have done.
        Your skewed and extremely narrow representation (nay, a characterization) of Japanese culture is unfortunate, however. You should take a little time to engage the culture, some aspect of it that you find interesting, and see where that leads you.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        You’re making a straw-man argument that the only people who will immigrate are either kleptocrats or from the third world. I was neither. Now I am Japanese, have Japanese kids, a business, pay two Japanese employees salaries, and we all pay tax. This is good for Japan, no?
        As for language, have you never read Swift? Language is always in a constant state of change. Customs and culture? Have you never read Hobspawm & Ranger? These things are ‘invented’ systems of social control. When they stifle and suffocate a society, shouldn’t a society change it’s customs and culture? Are you seriously proposing that Japanese men should grown top-knots, and should all wear kimono, and go about in rickshaws? If not, then who gets to decide what ‘culture & customs’ must be preserved, and which ones can be changed?

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      It’s overpopulated, but with a declining population, and one disproportionately tilted to the elderly, meaning there won’t be enough working age tax payers in future. Surely you know that.

      • zer0_0zor0

        It’s simply a matter of taxing the wealthy and implementing a more economic and efficient care system for the elderly.

      • zer0_0zor0

        It’s simply a matter of taxing the wealthy and implementing a more economic and efficient care system for the elderly.

  • Guy Hubbard

    Nothing wrong with reducing population. House prices will fall and wages increase. Just increase the retirement age proportionally.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      No the won’t. Japanese houses go rotten if unlived in and become health hazards, not bargains. And as the population decreases, GDP will drop and the Japanese will get poorer.

    • Paul Johnny Lynn

      That’s not the way it works here sadly.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Not really. As Discus man said, the houses will stay empty, and eventually need to be torn down at taxpayer expense. Retired people on fixed incomes won’t be able to spend as much as they once did, having a negative effect on the economy and wages. “Sorry workers, business is not as good as it once was. In order to survive, we need to fire most of you, or cut your salaries.”

    Immigration would certainly help. But, immigrants aren’t really wanted unless they are Japanese.

    • zer0_0zor0

      Excessive centralization in terms of the economy is responsible for the depopulation of the countryside. Immigration is not needed, just a more balanced system the de-incentivizes moving to Tokyo for every young person everywhere in Japan.

  • tisho

    Well, to play the devil’s advocate, those were war period, today’s we’re living in mostly peaceful times, so the means are different. No such group exist in Japan? Are you serious? This year alone there was a scandal because the PM Abe and other ministers were caught in a picture with a neo-nazi group in Japan, google it if you don’t believe me. And last year there was a little school girl shouting at the center of Osaka that she wants to massacre all Koreans. This is a freaking schoolgirl! Where did she get so much hatred from? This resembles religious extremism where kids are indoctrinated from young age to hate other groups. Feeling comfortable saying something publicly is just one step away from doing it.

    • Ahojanen

      You’re focusing solely on a tree, not on the entire forest. In Europe, lots of cars and facility are set ablaze (as usual). Hate speech is banned but still chanted overtly in political movements involving even political leaders. People kill or get killed, injured … no joke or metaphor. An increasing number of threat calls or messages to Muslim people are right now underway after the Paris attacks. There are so many hate-related crimes in varying magnitudes that it is not worth introducing them all here as counter-evidence.

      Are there any equivalents or political violence in the present-day Japan? Has any single ethnic Korean been murdered or physically injured since the freaking school girl’ talk? Thanks for your devil’s advocate, I enjoy it. But you fail

      • tisho

        Your examples were completely irrelevant to what i said. No Korean has been murdered, has any muslim been murdered in Europe by the haters? Im from Europe, so i know, the answer is NO. Let’s compare the two examples in more detail. Do Koreans commit terrorist crimes in Japan? No. Do muslims commit terrorists crimes in Europe? Yes. Do Koreans integrate into the Japanese society? Yes. Do Muslims integrate into the European society? No. You can’t even distinguish between a Korean and a Japanese, all the Koreans i’ve met in Japan changed their real names to Japanese names because they are afraid nobody is going to employ them if when they hear their Korean names. Do Muslims change their names in Europe to get employed? No.

        This year alone a right-wing group threatened to blow up a Korean school in Japan, the right-wing group never got arrested. Another ring-wing group threatened to blow up a university (hokusei university) if they don’t fire a professor, who is an ex-journalist for Asahi shinbun (he is related to the publishing of the comfort women). The people that made that threat never got arrested. NYT reported on people that protect old ww2 statues in rural Japan, constantly get threats that if they don’t remove the statues they will get killed, many removed them out of fear for their lives, complaining the police and the government are ignoring them. The young anti-Abe group called – SEALD’s leader Aiki Okuda recently said on Twitter that he and his family received death calls that if they don’t stop protesting his family will be killed.

        Does ANY of this EVER happens in Europe or ANY other country in fact? I know it doesn’t happen in Europe because i live here and i watch the news and i have never heard any of this. I know there is a neo-nazi group in Germany that set a refugee building on fire, they got arrested for that, and nobody ever supports these people, the media widely reports on this, as oppose to the Japanese media that never reported any of these incidents i just mentioned to you, all of these were reported by either international media or individual reporters on the social media.

        Europe and Japan are completely incomparable in every aspect, in particular societies and minorities. You cannot compare the severe discrimination Koreans and Chinese face in Japan to muslims in Europe.

      • Ahojanen

        has any muslim been murdered in Europe by the haters? Im from Europe, so i know, the answer is NO

        You’re ignorant. The latest Paris attacks claimed the lives of Muslim civilians.

        This year alone a right-wing group threatened to blow up a Korean school in Japan, the right-wing group never got arrested. Another ring-wing group threatened to blow up a university (hokusei university) if they don’t fire a professor, who is an ex-journalist for Asahi shinbun

        How could you possibly know these threats were really from right-wing? Anybody could pretend. Don’t say Japanese police are lazy, as inquiries have been undertaken. Unlike authoritarian societies like China, Russia or North Korea, you cannot freely detain anyone without warrants or in due course.

        For this Korean school case, the court has already issued a restrain order. Meanwhile so called “liberal” groups are also using death-threat messages to key figures (e.g. Taichi-whale fisher groups), which have however remained unreported or under-reported in mainstream media. Asahi and SEALD cases were widely reported and debated. Don’t tell a lie.

        More importantly, in Japan none of these cases above has ever crossed the line leading up to disastrous outcomes. What about Europe? There have been many hate inducing crimes and illegal activities involving physical or psychological damages on both people and properties. Be reminded that an ultra-right wing Norwegian killed a record 77 people. Prejudice and harassment is common not only against Muslims but also Roma or other ethnic minorities. No wonder there are many arrests in Europe just because there are so many criminal cases.

        Finally, no further lecture is needed about the case of Japan. I am Japanese living and traveling regularly between Japan and Europe, much better understand and follow local events in both sides.

      • tisho

        Too simplistic and prejudiced view. Most Muslims in Europe are not
        terrorists. The majority of them are also well-adapted into European
        society. You’re also confused between religious and ethnic backgrounds.

        Being simplistic does not make it incorrect. If you think something i said is incorrect, feel free to point out which part exactly and for what reason. Being simplistic or complex is irrelevant, we’re talking about factual accuracy. I know most Muslims in Europe are not terrorist, nowhere did i said they were, i said that there are a lot of terrorists attack in Europe and all of them are committed always by Muslims, there are also a lot of other issues happening all the time involving Muslims, all this is enough to create anti-Muslim sentiment among people.

        As for your second part of your comment, i was going to comment but when i read your comment i gave up. You make up stories and you are clearly uninformed. How do we know it’s ring-wing groups? Are you serious dude? Are you seriously asking this question? You are creating a straw men here. Left-wing death threats? Dude, get out of here. Either cite some source or get out of here. You are either so misinformed and delusional, or you intentionally lie to protect your beloved Japan. I’ve talked and encountered so many Japanophiles in my life, I’ve learned that talking with them is like talking to a wall. Im not doing that again.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        What do you mean by “Left-wing death threats? Dude, get out of here”? I assume you are deluding yourself into believing that all leftists in Japan are rational enough not to make any death threats?

      • tisho

        There has never been any threats issued by a left-wing group in Japan towards people who may disagree with them. There are no left-wing groups to begin with, there are anti-Abe, anti-revisionism, anti-authoritarian regime groups. Very few Japanese people even understand the difference between left and right.

      • 大千釜 創雷

        That is one of the most jaw-dropping comments I’ve ever read. “There are no left-wing groups to begin with”, are you serious!? Please tell me you are drunk right now.

      • Ahojanen

        i said that there are a lot of terrorists attack in Europe and all of them are committed always by Muslims, there are also a lot of other issues happening all the time involving Muslims, all this is enough to create anti-Muslim sentiment among people.

        Terrorists are not Muslim, not following serious Islamic teachings. Note that Muslims are also victims in the latest Paris attacks where several of them were killed. Non-Muslims have also done terror acts as in Norway in 2011.

        Left-wing death threats? Dude, get out of here. Either cite some source or get out of here.

        From Nishinihon Shimbun;
        イルカ漁中止求める脅迫文 和歌山・太地町に届く
        2015年10月22日12時12分 (更新 10月22日 13時30分)

        イルカなどの追い込み漁が行われている和歌山県太地町の「町立くじらの博物館」に、漁の中止を求める脅迫文が届いていたことが22日、分かった。宛名は「いるか追い込み漁港組合長様」で「八つ裂きにしてもおさまらん」などと書かれており、新宮署は脅迫容疑で捜査している。

        同署によると、宛先はくじらの博物館の住所で、A4判の紙1枚に手書きで「今すぐイルカ追い込み漁中止」「交通事故にも、気をつけろ」などと書かれ、漁に関する新聞記事も入っていた。差出人として大阪府内の住所と男性の名前が記載されていた。

  • Steven R. Simon

    Simon says the root of the demographic problem in Japan is the high cost of living coupled with abortion on demand.

    • Christina Tsuchida

      In 1966-70 at Wilson College, I read that abortion was Japan’s chief birth-limiting method. Now it is no longer featured as a patriotic duty, that is for sure. I suppose it is still covered by health insurance. It was back about 25 years ago, I heard. No one moots that this is feminist success!
      Giving birth, however, is still at one’s own family’s expense, as far as I know. That is very expensive in itself. Now there is financial support for parents, however.
      OB/GYN and Pediatrics are said to lack doctors chiefly because of the double crunch of litigations (for malpractice) and the low birth rate. This inertia spirals into less salary for the MDs, who have to pay off their debt for education. Steps HAVE been taken to make medical school more available, financially speaking.
      The work would be less difficult if everyone aimed at younger age birthing. This is another factor in the longevity of CURRENT elderly that younger Japan residents may NOT enjoy/suffer! A young mom means statistically longer lifespan.

  • Ren Huschle

    The biggest problem Japan has is Overpopulation, not how to make more babies. Seriously do any of you live there? Is it any wonder that people are not having babies when they are around so many people constantly? Add to that insane work hours, low pay, high stratification, and sexist society. Who would want to have children?
    Japan already has extreme population density. If there are more people, where will their trash go, where will there food come from, where will they live? If anything they should welcome lowering the population, and lead the world as an example.The “economy”, aka corporate profits based on infinite growth are not possible, resources are not infinite. Humans are already taking far more than the planet can sustain. Japan could lead the way in finding more sustainable economic structure. It will be difficult, no doubt, but inevitable. The population of Japan and the entire world needs to be reduced. We can do it on purpose, or it will crash out of our control.

  • P Diddy

    Seeing as giving women everything they want plus throwing money at families hasn’t made the birthrate much better than Japan’s in the Western world I think Papa can stop preaching. The only reason we aren’t shrinking is because we are willing to sell our culture up the river for continued growth. We used to have a formula that produced lots of kids and didn’t cost crazy amounts of money. It worked like this: Only those who really needed to went to university, most men could support their families on their income alone, women weren’t bullied from birth to act like children under they were in their late twenties.

  • J-Devil

    You wrote a paragraph about robots, the best and future solution to falling birthrates, then went on and on about how Japan should go the way of Europe and swing its doors open. Japan may have a low birthrate and a labor shortage, but thats beats ethnic conflict, rising crime, terrorism, breakdown of trust and host of other issues that follow the “lets replace our population with foreigners” method.
    That has worked so well so far hasnt it?

    How would a diverse Japan be better than a homogenous one? Really? I want to hear it.

  • Gul Sher Khan

    Let’s open all the borders of the world