Thursday, July 27, 2023

"Japan’s population drops by nearly 800,000 with falls in every prefecture for the first time"

 From The Guardian, July 26:

Changing demographics are affecting nearly every part of society, while efforts to turn around the decline have so far had little impact

Every one of Japan’s 47 prefectures posted a population drop in 2022, while the total number of Japanese people fell by nearly 800,000. The figures released by the Japan’s internal affairs ministry mark two new unwelcome records for a nation sailing into uncharted demographic territory, but on a course many other countries are set to follow.

Japan’s prime minister has called the trend a crisis and vowed to tackle the situation. But national policies have so far failed to dent population decline, though concerted efforts by a sprinkling of small towns have had some effect.

Wednesday’s new data showed deaths hit a record high of more than 1.56 million while there were just 771,000 births in Japan in 2022, the first time the number of newborns has fallen below 800,000 since records began.

Even an all-time high increase in foreign residents of more than 10%, to 2.99 million, couldn’t halt a slide in the total population, which has declined for 14 years in a row to 122.42 million in 2022.

In January, prime minister Fumio Kishida said that addressing the birthrate was “now or never” and warned, “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions.”

Japan’s ageing population is already affecting nearly every aspect of society. More than half of all municipalities are designated as depopulated districts, schools are closing and more than 1.2 million small businesses have owners aged about 70 with no successor.

Programmes on the Broadcast Satellite (BS) channels are geared to an older audience, with the commercials a procession of offerings for funeral services, supplements to relieve aching joints and incontinence pads.

Japan’s underworld has not escaped unscathed either: a majority of yakuza are over 50 and there are now more gangsters in their 70s than in their 20s. Meanwhile, senior porn is a growing niche, populated by a handful of silver stars in their 60s, 70s and even 80s....


I know the entrepreneurial among us are thinking "there are some opportunities here." 

Previously on aging mobsters:
"Making a slow getaway: Japan's anti-yakuza laws result in cohort of ageing gangsters"