The alarming prospect, set out in a recent report from a panel consisting primarily of private-sector experts, that approximately 40% of Japan's municipalities face a looming threat of disappearance underscores the severity of population decline.

Since 2014, when another group presented a similar forecast, the government has been actively pursuing initiatives aimed at addressing the chronically low birthrate and the overconcentration of people in Tokyo, under the banner of "regional revitalization."

Significant progress remains elusive, however. The number of births continues to drop, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while there is a concerning resurgence in population migration toward the Tokyo metropolitan area.