The Japanese population is rapidly declining.
The population has lost almost one million people over the past five years.
This decline has been long predicted by demographers but the world’s third largest economy has been unable to find a solution.
The situation is dire and hard to overstate.
If Japan can’t start having many more babies then the country will face great challenges later on in the century. These challenges could undermine the very core of the country’s social order.
Japan has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, 1.41 children per woman in 2012.
As a result, the number of people 65 and over has increased from 12.1% in 1990 to 26% in 2014.
Furthermore, estimates put Japan’s retirement age population at 40% of the total national population by 2060.
This would likely put a tremendous burden on Japan’s social safety net, state pensions alone being ¥792,100 per year ($6,960.76). This accounts for nearly 33% of Japan’s national budget in 2015 and it will only continue to balloon as the years roll on.
Having to cope with close to half of your population being in need of geriatric care is not a problem exclusive to Japan.
China recently revoked and replaced its One Child Policy, with the Two Child Policy.
In part this is to combat China’s low fertility rates, 1.66 births per woman, and in part to counter act the imbalance between the number of men and women, a 30 million person disparity.
Other low fertility countries include, but are not limited to: Singapore (0.81), South Korea (1.18), Germany (1.44), Russia (1.61), The United States (1.87), and the United Kingdom (1.89). All of these nations have fertility rates incapable of sustaining their current populations without immigration helping to offset the disparity.
Elderly populations then are not only a threat to the economic growth of Japan, but to advanced economies in general.
It would then seem that in order to combat global population decline, and with a greater number of developing nations creating advanced economies, nations may need to compete for immigrants in order to sustain their populations.
This may be particularly difficult for Japan, due to the relative difficulty in learning its national language, and a culture that is not as used to welcoming immigrants as many of its potential competitors.
Of course the other way for Japan to get back to an equilibrium in terms of old and young is to have young people have more children- lots more children. The government has tried many different methods, including offering to pay parents to have kids, but it has had little impact.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Freedom II Andres/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
Some time has passed since my season as an adult kickball player has come to a close and I’ve had a week to reflect on my experiences.
Kickball, a game that is supposed to be fun and played amongst school age children has become a phenomenon of sorts for the 20-something crowd who pine for the nostalgia of their own childhood.
I decided to join a team in a league with some friends to see what the hype was about and to stay active, if even once a week (there are only so many hours a day one can binge watch tv).
I had zero expectations going in to the season and I was only hoping to have some fun, be goofy and enjoy my time.
Little did I know that the random strangers who were on my team with my friends and I took this game way too seriously.
We are all grown adults with big boy and big girl jobs that we clock in and out of each and every day, yet the idea of kicking a ball and winning turned them back in to the school yard children they once were.
I realized in that first game, when a teammate and team captain who had placed me in right field (because he took one look and me and assumed I had no athletic skill without any prior conversation) screamed across the field asking if “I was awake out there.”
It was in that moment that I was brought back to my childhood when I first experienced being teased for lack of athletic prowess or skill.
It was in that moment that I once again felt my manhood had been called in to question, being treated as if I was like one of the many girls on the team who they also assumed had no physical skill on the field.
I flash backed to those times in the school yard when I chose to sit out from playing with the other boys who played the recreational games at recess because I didn’t want to be shamed or made to feel lesser as a male because I was not as athletically inclined as they were.
My interest and desire to “be the best” in sports never existed.
It was meant to be fun, to be spectated on, and because of my views I often times found myself on the outs with those who I shared the same genetic makeup as.
My frame, my build and my stature have always indicated to others merely from my perception alone at first that I am not to be taken seriously, that I am not into sports and that I am just a joke.
As the years have gone by I have more than come to terms with not being the sporting type but that little bit of insecurity always existed, even if it was so far buried.
The five weeks I played on the kickball team I was subjected to those same insecurities I had as a young boy, a teenage male, and an adult male by the other males on the team who didn’t value me as an equal because I had not played kickball bi-weekly since the incarnation of these adult leagues.
I was told to “bunt like the girls” because they thought I couldn’t kick.
Week by week I attempted to try to prove them wrong.
There were weeks where it just wasn’t my week and I was okay with that but it was those five weeks when I realized how idiotic the whole thing was.
I was letting people who take kickball seriously get under my skin when I realized that it was so minute and unimportant in the grander scheme of life.
The idea of what a man is has changed drastically over the years and it’s because of these new roles and non-conforming ideas of what “men” and “women” are that I felt okay that I wasn’t an athletic specimen.
It’s okay to not be physically inclined to kick a ball far out in the outfield that won’t be a pop up fly.
It is because of my experience on this Co-Ed adult kickball league that made me think about my future children and who they will become.
No longer does gender conforming roles guide how children are raised and no longer are stereotypes acceptable.
Our value as a person should not be based on how much or how less we equal up to our gender identity.
Next time you think about putting someone down because they’re not performing by what society’s standards expect of them because of their gender, remember that they have insecurities just like you and that their interests vary from yours and they should be respected.
There is a fine line between a joke and an insult.
Think before you speak and before you pass judgement on those who you don’t know.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: James/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)
What Do You Think?
UPDATE – 11:58 AM EST: President Barack Obama is speaking now. Live feed below.
President Barack Obama is expected to announce that his administration has rejected a proposal to construct a 1,179 mile long pipeline that would have cut across the American heartland according to the New York Times.
TransCanada, the company that was lobbying for the construction of the pipeline had attempted to retract its request for review from the Obama administration after it became clear that the proposal would not be approved by the government. Some have speculated that the company is hoping for a Republican to win the White House in 2016 so that they get the project approved.
Obama will speak to the nation at 11:45 AM.
LIVE FEED: (Via White House/ Youtube)
Stay with Rise News as we cover this developing story.
Cover Photo Credit: Maureen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)