Canberra Times

Will the last Japanese person please turn off the lights?

Last year Japan’s total population fell by 538,000, bringing the population down to an estimated 124.77 million to start 2023, from a peak of just over 128 million in 2018.

The fertility rate is around 1.37 births per woman, having fallen as low as 1.29 in 2004 and well below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population.

The fertility rate in China is 1.28 births per woman and an eye-watering 0.84 in South Korea, with that rate projected to fall further. Australia’s fertility rate is 1.58 but the population is growing thanks to immigration, something that Japan and its neighbours in north-east Asia have failed sufficiently to embrace.

That Japan’s population is shrinking may be a problem, but the bigger issue is ageing.

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