As you may have heard, the Japanese population has taken a turn for the older…and the smaller. In fact, it has even topped a list of five countries facing “extinction” according to Sputnik Japan. The statistics have got a lot of people talking online, and we’re here to share all the tongue-wagging with you!
The Sputnik article references a study by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) which lists five countries that are expected to see massive decreases in population over the next 35 years. According to the article, Japan’s population is projected to decrease by 25 percent from its current population of 126,981,000 to 95,152,000. The PRB also predicts that the portion of the population aged 65 or older will also make up a full 23 percent of the entire population.
This isn’t exactly new news–there’s a real sense of crisis among some Japanese people and institutions about the declining/aging population. Take, for example, this unnecessarily adorable report published by the Ministry of Finance, which covers such concerns as growing social security costs and economic slowdown…with bunnies!
▼ To be fair, you really want to read this report now, don’t you?
It is, certainly, a serious matter for Japan, but it’s not the only country facing the problem. Also on the list was Ukraine, which is expected to see a 23 percent population reduction by 2050, though a large part of that is probably due to the loss of Crimea to Russia. Bosnia and Herzegovina also made the list and is expected to see a 19.6 percent decrease by 2050. Finally, Bulgaria is predicted to see a decrease of 18.2 percent and Georgia is expected to see a decrease of 17.2 percent.
Of course, finding out that their country had topped the list for the fastest shrinking got Japanese Internet commenters talking. Here are some of their thoughts!
“I think the population decline is less of a problem than the aging population…”
“All of the patriots who love their country so much must certainly be out there making babies and multiplying all day long! Even so, you need to spread your patriotism more! (´･∀･｀)”
“All I can really say about this is, ‘Sorry.'”
“Are the Japanese people an endangered species?!”
“If you think about how we’re supposed to be a nation that loves the sakura (cherry trees), it kind of seems natural that we’d eventually disappear. Or maybe I should say, we’ve done a great job of not disappearing yet!”
“Not matter how high stock prices rise or how the economy moves, as long as we’re a society that doesn’t produce babies, we have no future. That’s obvious. Wake up, people!”
“Right before Nintendo hardware starts to go extinct!”
Hm, maybe that news that Nintendo is going to make mobile phone games was more prophetic than we realized!
Of course, the shrinking/aging population isn’t just an economic concern. As we learned from Norihiro Miyairi, a master katana maker, one issue his art form faces is a lack of young people to take over. Nevertheless, the Japanese government does seem to be working on this, but it remains to be seen if it’s too little too late.