Four decades after the first forecasts that Japan’s population decline was inevitable, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is drawing a demographic red line with a target to halt the slide at 100 million people by 2060, a 20 percent drop from current levels.
But holding the line will be difficult and costly unless Japan opens the door wider to long-term immigration, a step policymakers say they have no intention of taking. A proposal floated among Abe’s advisers to increase the number of immigrants to 200,000 a year by 2050 was rejected.
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