The population of Japan is expected to drop by about one-third by 2070, an event that is likely to create significant social and economic challenges for the third-largest economy in the world.
The government’s study, released on Wednesday, has suggested that Japan could lose 37 million people by 2070, even though it included nearly twice more immigrants than had previously predicted.
As the world’s population is predicted to increase and could reach its peak by 2070 with 9.4 billion, the population of Japan’s 124 million now is predicted to shrink by 30% to just 87 million in the same year, as per the report released by Japan’s health ministry.
In Japan, as the birth rate remains at a seven-year low, those 65 or older will comprise around 40 percent of the Japanese population by 2070, and the number of children in Japan will be less than 10 percent. The government has made efforts to promote child-rearing, for example, by increasing child allowances and providing childcare.
The shrinking of the workforce has hindered the growth of Japan’s economy, and the population decline is already impacting the country’s social structure.
Due to the decline in birth rate and since many families are leaving rural areas, schools in such places have very few students, and many are even forced to close. This has meant that certain students are forced to move from prefectures to better schools.
The increasing number of abandoned homes across rural areas illustrates the population decline. These vacant homes, known as akiya, can be available for sale for just $45, and the local officials have devised subsidies and other sweeteners to draw new people to re-energize their declining communities.
The study predicts that Japanese and foreign residents, defined as those who aren’t Japanese and stay within the country for a minimum of three months — will be more than 10 percent of the total population in 2070, a rise from 2.2 percent in the present.
In an earlier study released in 2017, the government projected that 6 percent of Japan’s population is non-Japanese. This change reflects the Japanese government’s expectations of increasing migration to reduce its population.
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