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Much has been made in the media over the problem of Japan’s aging population and shrinking workforce. But there is another demographic time bomb, at the heart of Japan’s most militantly youthful sector of society, just waiting to explode.

I’m talking, of course, about the boom in Japan’s idol population. Yasushi Akimoto’s mass idol factory alone supports more than 300 young girls through the likes of AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, SDN48 and Sony marketing item Nogizaka46, all rushing headlong into “graduation” by their mid-20s. Is Japan ready to cope with such an influx of unemployed young women with a very specific skill set?

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