Yomiuri: J population falls record 259,000 in 2011 (as does NJ pop.); Keidanren think tank sees ROK surpassing J GDP by 2030
Posted by debito on April 21st, 2012
Hi Blog. Here are two sobering articles regarding Japan’s unsustainability. The first indicates that Japan’s population decrease is, as predicted, accelerating, dropping by a record quarter-million in 2011 alone. Now, let’s acknowledge the caveats: This may be a blip due to the horrendous year that 2011 was for Japan. However, the death toll from the triple disasters is only estimated (highball) at around 20,000, less than a tenth of the overall fall in Japanese population. Moreover, if people say that this is due to people fleeing the country (meaning they’ll come back when the coast is clear, i.e., the fall is but temporary), okay, but then, I can’t help but point out, it’s clear the preponderance of the “flyjin” phenomenon is, once again, not due to NJ fleeing. So I’m not so sure that “fleeing” is the cause either. I’ll just chalk this development as more evidence of Japan’s unsustainability without immigration.
The second article is, I believe, more alarmist and latently jingoistic — appealing to nationalism to get Japan to pull its socks up. A think tank affiliated with Keidanren (and we know how influential they are in the public policy realm — through them we got our new NJ cheap labor visa regimes from 1990 onwards) is saying that, horrors, Japan will not only drop in the world rankings (which we’ve anticipated for quite a while now due to demographics), THEY’LL FALL BEHIND SOUTH KOREA!! Why South Korea (as opposed to, say, Spain)? Because that would be a blow to national pride — a former colony and perpetual rival that we’ve always felt superior to (and who can apparently only use but the simplest cameras) shaming us in the world economy rankings!
Whether or not these predictions come true is irrelevant (after all, as Debito.org Reader Charuzu has pointed out in comments elsewhere, if and when the ROK and the DPRK reunify the costs will be horrendous) — if you don’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy and have the Koreans lord it over us, DO SOMETHING!!, is basically the underlying call. After all, we’ve had warnings for well over a decade now that Japan’s population is going to fall and cause economic stagnation, and that didn’t change public policy all that much. It seems that only appeals to nationalism (and this time, targeting foreigners outside Japan, not within, as the latter strategy merely eliminated NJ labor and immigration as a possible solution), not appeals to logic, will pull Japan out of an economic nosedive. Arudou Debito
Japan’s population falls 259,000 in 2011
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Apr. 19, 2012), courtesy of JK
Japan’s population plunged more than 250,000 in the year until Oct. 1, with the number of children declining precipitously during this period, according to the government.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry’s Current Population Estimates put the population at 127,799,000, down 259,000 from a year ago, a record 0.2 percent decline since comparable data became available in 1950.
The number of children aged up to 14 against the total population was a record low 13.1 percent, while the number of people aged 65 or older was the highest ever at 23.3 percent.
The population estimates, which are based on national censuses carried out every five years, include foreign residents.
To calculate the total population, the internal affairs ministry used data from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on natural changes in population–the number of births minus deaths–and social changes–the number of persons who entered Japan minus those who left.
This is the third time Japan’s population has decreased following 2005 and 2009, but the number of births was the lowest ever at 1,073,000.
With deaths outnumbering births by 180,000, the population in the natural change category declined for the fifth year in a row. The decrease is widening year by year.
According to the estimates, the number of children aged up to 14 totaled 16,705,000, a record low, while the elderly population rose 268,000 from a year ago to 29,752,000, an all-time high.
“The figures indicate the pace of the nation’s graying is accelerating,” an internal affairs ministry official said.
In the social change category, the population fell 79,000 from a year ago. Of them, non-Japanese residents who lived in Japan for 90 days or longer fell 51,000, the largest decline ever.
In looking at the child population, working generation (15 to 64) and the elderly, the ministry said the elderly outnumbered the child population in 46 of the 47 prefectures. Okinawa Prefecture was the exception.
In Hokkaido and 23 other prefectures, people aged 75 or older outnumbered children.
The impact of the last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake and the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were seen in the population estimates, particularly in the number of people who left Japan.
Fukushima Prefecture saw the largest decrease in population, with a 1.93 percent decline from a year ago.
Iwate Prefecture suffered a 1.21 percent drop, followed by a 1.03 percent decline in Akita Prefecture and a 0.91 percent plunge in Miyagi Prefecture.
S. Korea poised to overtake Japan in GDP per capita by 2030: report
A think tank affiliated with the Keidanren business federation is predicting that South Korea will pass Japan in gross domestic product per capita around 2030.
The 21st Century Public Policy Institute also says in a report issued Monday that Japan could even be dropped from the category of developed countries by 2030 unless the low birthrate and dwindling population are addressed.
“A declining population and the world’s fastest aging society will combine to have significant effects on the economy,” the report says.
“Unless something is done, we are afraid Japan will fall out of the league of advanced nations and again become a tiny country in the Far East.”
The institute assumes the population will drop to 116.6 million in 2030 from 128.1 million in 2010, with the percentage of working age people falling to 49.1 percent from 51.4 percent. Under these assumptions, the institute laid out four scenarios in GDP per capita.
In all but the most optimistic one, South Korea tops Japan in GDP per capita.
Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120419f2.html