Of the 1,729 local municipalities in Japan, 744 are "likely to vanish" by 2050, according to a report released this week at a symposium by the Population Strategy Council, a group of private-sector experts.

The Tohoku region, for example, has the highest number, with 215 municipalities that are feared may "vanish.” How do I know so much about this? Because I am also a member of the PSC.

Japan has entered an era of full-fledged population decline. If current trends remain unchanged, the nation's population is expected to decline by about half from 124 million in 2023 to 63 million by 2100. If that happens, we will enter into a downward spiral, continue to lose national wealth and our social security system’s sustainability will be severely compromised. Japan will have no choice but to live as a "minor power" in the international arena. This was the sense of crisis at the time the PSC was launched.