As the fastest-aging country in the world, Japan urgently needs to restore the younger population’s trust in the future.

The nation is facing economic and societal gridlock due to a vicious cycle: Anemic economic growth in the past three decades has depressed wages, and despite several policy changes, the younger population thus does not have enough confidence to begin starting families. This has resulted in a gradual shrinkage of the population — a 620,000 decrease this month from a year ago, according to a report by the Ministry of Interior and Communications.

Meanwhile, the older population's personal wealth has, naturally, grown over time, but this has not necessarily driven up consumption as older people are more likely to save in this era of ever-extending longevity. These issues are compounded by the fact that traditional culture — which had long valued homogeneity and gender-based roles at home — did not provide enough opportunities for women, youths and foreign-born talent. Unfortunately for Japan, this has stifled innovation, which is so sorely needed for economic growth.