Letters to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
Much continues to be made of the imminent demographic crisis in Japan, especially since the release of government figures late last year indicating that the total number of people in the nation declined between ten and twenty thousand by the end of 2005, more than a year before the population previously had been expected to mark a decline in 2007. Despite passing in 1995 the milestone of decline in the total working population with little perceivable ill effect, the government wants to foster a sense of crisis over the population matter - calling into question the survival of Japanese culture and society - and the media stokes it. So it is a “crisis”fabricated despite valid arguments in support of the virtue of declining numbers.
I suggest that there is no crisis of declining births in Japan at all. There were over a million births in Japan last year. That’s quite a lot. The number of births in Japan is now outpaced by the growing number of deaths, so the problem can be said to be not a crisis of declining birth rates but a crisis of increasing death rates. Japanese are dying off faster than they ever have before in peace time. Since so many Japanese are elderly already, this problem will only grow as more and more people selfishly die, abandon their responsibilities to the State, and burden others with their obligations.
There should be a government inquiry. White Papers need to be written. Incentives should be created to encourage people to stop dying. Politicians and university researchers need to go on the afternoon Wideshows to discuss it.
Or, maybe not.
Published on Saturday, January 14, 2006 as “Govt scaremongering over population decline.”
Japanese worry about a shrinking economy accompanying a shrinking population. Plus they are rightly worried about payment for health care and social security pensions to the elderly, etc. But I think that if they plan ahead for a shrinking population then the phenomenon shouldn’t be so daunting. But in addition, I certainly believe in the proposition that a decline in numbers is a good thing. There are many people in the world - some environmentalists, for example - who hail declining birthrate and the decline in overall population that it forecasts. But the government, or the media doesn’t refer to them and we hardly ever hear their views.