Today, Japan’s birth rate is 1.44 children per woman.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found that if such trends continue, Japan’s population is expected to decrease from 126 million today to 88 million in 2065 and 51 million by 2115.
With fewer children and young adults, a vicious cycle is set in motion: a smaller labor force and spending decreases which weaken the economy and discourage families from having children, which then weakens the economy further. This means less revenues and higher expenditures for the government, and when the number of older persons grows faster than the working-age population, there are less funds for pensions and social security, thus creating an even weaker economy.
“Without the younger generation, this system will not be able to maintain,” Secretary-General of the Asian Population Development Association (APDA) Dr. Osamu Kusumoto told IPS.
In France, the percentage of older people grew from 7 percent to 20 percent in approximately 150 years. However, the same demographic shift was seen in Japan within just 40 years. The elderly now make up 27 percent of Japan’s population in comparison to 15 percent in the United States. Many Asian countries are expected to follow in Japan’s footsteps.
By 2030, Asia could be home to over 60 percent of the total population aged 65 years or older worldwide. According to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), East and Northeast Asian countries have the largest such population, accounting for 56 percent of all older persons in the Asia-Pacific region and 32 percent in the world.