It's shrinking in actual population numbers, and it's overall age continues to rise.
Including gaijin (foreigners) Japan's population is at 126.7 million people as of October 1, 2017.
That's down by 227,000 from the same period in 2016.
The Internal Affairs Ministry of Japan notes that there are 61,650,000 men and 65,050,000 women.
As well, 27.7 percent of the population is 65-years-old or older.
Children under the age of 15, has now fallen to an all-time low of 12.3 percent.
That implies that 60 percent of the population of Japan is aged 15-64... which is fine, but since that segment is not having kids as frequently as in the past, Japan is experiencing negative population growth. Oh yeah, since it doesn't have much in the way of immigration, there's no other way to increase it's population numbers.
Yes, Japan makes it difficult for people to want to become Japanese citizens, but it also is impacted by the fact that it uses a language few would-be immigrants speak before going there, and has a culture many seem to think is shrouded in secrecy and mystery.
Population in seven of the 47 prefectures (provinces) did have some growth, with Tokyo having the highest growth at 0.73 percent, followed by Saitama at 0.28 percent, and Okinawa at 0.26 percent.
Of course, that implies that 40 other prefectures suffered a negative population growth.
Granted the overall fall in numbers by 227,000 isn't huge, what is disconcerting is that Japan continues it's negative population growth for the seventh consecutive year.
Since it is not going to change its immigration policies anytime soon, it needs to find ways to engage its child-rearing population to engage in child-rearing.
While incentives have been offered in the past, it's time to step up the ante. Perhaps offer free housing for families of at least two kids, add in tax-free housing for three kids... or maybe free university, as an option instead of the tax-free housing.
If the country is worried about the costs in purchasing houses, and lost costs in providing tax-free houses, or costs in paying for free university education, the costs should be measured against long-term things.
For example, ego. No one likes being the butt of anyone's jokes... by eliminating the negative connotations around a negative population growth, Japan's ego need not turn red whenever anyone notes that Japan seems to be afraid of interpersonal sex, preferring to do it with a robot.
Also, by having more kids, we can note that those kids aren't exempt from paying income taxes... they will also contribute to the over all economy by consuming food, clothing, etc.... things that are taxable.
There's also the fact that any one of the kids could become someone of great importance to the country.
Greater incentives need to be given to women in the workplace. In North America, a woman does not have to give up her career when kids come around. We have daycare, as well as the lucky ones who have parents or in-laws who could look after them.
Perhaps free daycare... perhaps seniors could provide some help at a daycare... just because some reach a so-called old-age, it doesn't mean they suddenly become useless. Perhaps for every year after 65 or 70 they work, they receive three years free medication.
If Japan is worried that an aging population will be a burden on its economy, do something about it!
If the aged can't or don't want to work, that's okay, too... perhaps government-run senior homes...
Holy crap, I sound like a communist... where everyone is treated equally... there's actually nothing wrong ethically with communism in its purist sense... the problem is that when communism is enacted, there are still those in higher positions who get more than the majority in the lower positions. That stops being communism.
I'm just tossing ideas out, straight from my head... I haven't though through the total ramifications... but at least I'm trying. Stop telling us why something won't work, and tell us why it will. Once you have the positive, then you can tackle the negative.
Seriously... if I had pay or tax incentives, such as free home and board, and maybe 20% off on food because I had three kids, I would consider it. I might need a different wife, but I would consider it.
Obviously, jobs in Japan need to be more sensitive to the needs (familial) of its employees...
WHY the fug do people in Japan need to work say 60 hours a week? Why can't it be done in 35 or 40 hours? Why is their work rate so ineffectual? Tired from too much work, so naps are needed... or so tired from over work that their brains don't function as quickly as those who are better rested?
There are ways for Japan to stop its negative population growth. It just needs to do more to stop it.
I am available for further consultation, but not for free. I assume Japan has plenty of money, elsewise why host an Olympics in 2020 when past economic truisms seem to show that it's a white elephant... a costly venture that will end up losing money rather than make it.
Let's face it... in the same way that few immigrants would want to make Japan their choice of destination, how many people outside of Asia, or parents of friends of participating athletes are actually going to Japan to see the Olympics?
It's far away... $$$, expensive to stay in $$$... language barrier (regardless of the JET Programme efforts of the past 29 years)... not everyone is crazy about Japanese food... and because every single effing Japanese food place in North America is far, far more expensive than say Chinese food (I had two different Chinese food meals for lunch and dinner yesterday - and it was awesome!), few people will try it... shopping in Japan for clothing (no one has your size!)... so... why is the world going to knock down your door to come and see the Olympics?
Yes, I'm sure the people are friendly. Yes, I'm sure it's a safe country as long as you aren't borrowing money from the yakuza. Yes, the food is delicious (but expensive). Yes, the sights are amazing. Yes, yes, yes...
Hopefully they aren't pinning hopes on it's own population coming to see it, or the Chinese or the Koreans... they will... but that won't create a profit.
But back to the negative population growth... since Japan has money to spend on such things as the Olympics, and is paying for the needs of an aging population, it's going to need more youth to help continue the payments in the very near future - say 20 years...
As such, Japan needs to think outside the box if it wants to correct for the bigger problem coming soon to an economy that will shrink as fewer people contribute towards it.