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What is wrong with Japan’s population?


Japan’s population has been shrinking for several years, and it is a problem that has caught the attention of economists, demographers, and policymakers. The country is facing a demographic crisis that could have significant implications on its economy, health care system, and society as a whole. This article aims to explore the main factors contributing to Japan’s declining population and their consequences.

Aging Population

One of the primary factors contributing to Japan’s population decline is its aging population. According to the World Bank, over 28% of Japan’s population is currently aged 65 and above. This demographic shift is due to a combination of factors, including increased life expectancy and decreased birth rates. This aging population has significant implications on Japan’s economy, as it puts a strain on the country’s social security and healthcare systems.

Japanese Snack Box

Low Fertility Rates

Japan’s fertility rate, which measures the average number of children born per woman, has been consistently low for several decades. In 2019, Japan’s fertility rate was 1.36, well below the replacement level of 2.1. There are several reasons for this trend, including changes in societal norms around marriage and child-rearing, economic uncertainty, and a lack of family-friendly policies.

Gender Inequality

Gender inequality is another factor that contributes to Japan’s low fertility rates. Women in Japan face significant barriers in their careers and are often expected to choose between having children or pursuing their professional goals. The lack of support for working mothers and the absence of paternity leave further exacerbate this issue.

Depopulation of Rural Areas

The depopulation of rural areas is another challenge that Japan faces. Many younger people are leaving rural areas in search of better job opportunities in urban centers. This trend has significant implications for the sustainability of rural communities, as it can lead to a lack of essential services and infrastructure.

Economic Challenges

Japan’s shrinking population also poses significant economic challenges. A smaller workforce means there are fewer people contributing to the economy through taxes and consumption. This can result in slower economic growth, reduced innovation, and lower productivity levels.

Healthcare Challenges

Japan’s aging population also puts a strain on its healthcare system. The elderly require more medical care than younger people, which can be expensive for both individuals and the government.

Social Isolation

The decline in Japan’s population can also lead to social isolation for individuals, particularly the elderly who may live alone or have limited social connections. This can have negative effects on mental health and well-being.

Immigration Policies

Japan’s strict immigration policies are another factor contributing to its population decline. While immigration could help address some of the country’s labor shortages, Japan has historically been resistant to immigration due to concerns about cultural homogeneity.

Potential Solutions

To address these challenges, Japan may need to implement a range of solutions that address both its aging population and low fertility rates. These solutions could include increasing support for working mothers, promoting gender equality in the workplace, providing incentives for families to have more children, supporting rural communities with essential services and infrastructure, and potentially revising its immigration policies.


In conclusion, Japan’s population decline is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences for the country’s economy, healthcare system, and society as a whole. Addressing this challenge will likely require a multifaceted approach that addresses underlying factors such as gender inequality and rural depopulation while also promoting policies that incentivize families to have more children.


What is the main problem with Japan’s population?

The most recent data from 2021 shows that Japan experienced the lowest number of births ever recorded, leading to a significant natural decrease in the population. This is compounded by the fact that approximately 28% of the population is over the age of 65.

Why does Japan have a negative population growth rate?

Japan’s population is ageing, leading to a rise in the death rate, even with advancements in medical care. Additionally, the death rate has surpassed the birth rate, causing the population to decrease.

Why is Japan’s population in decline?

The increase in age of the Japanese population is due to a high life expectancy combined with one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.

Does Japan have a child limit?

The Japanese government does not impose any restrictions on the number of children a family can have. While the government is urging people to have more kids, there are no penalties for not having any or having too many children.

How can Japan fix its population?

Japan’s low birth rate can be improved through two approaches focused on the domestic supply side. The first is to incentivize couples to have more children by providing financial compensation. The second is to offer additional economic benefits, such as paid parental leave or subsidized childcare, to support families. This strategy was proposed on January 24, 2023.

What happens if you have more than 2 child in Japan?

According to the policy, individuals with more than two children will not be eligible for government jobs, government housing, or the ability to run for local body elections. ET Magazine investigates other similar limitations implemented by different countries and explores the incentives offered to encourage people to have more children. This article was published on April 17, 2017.

Impact on Housing Market

Japan’s shrinking population also has an impact on the country’s housing market. As the population declines, there is less demand for new homes, which can lead to a decrease in housing prices. This can have negative consequences for homeowners who may see a decrease in the value of their property. It can also make it difficult for the construction industry to generate revenue and create new jobs.

The Role of Technology

Technology could play a role in addressing some of the challenges posed by Japan’s declining population. For example, advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence could help fill labor shortages in certain industries. Additionally, telemedicine and other forms of remote healthcare could help alleviate some of the strain on the healthcare system caused by an aging population.

Global Implications

Japan’s demographic crisis also has implications beyond its borders. As one of the world’s largest economies, Japan’s population decline could have ripple effects on global trade and investment. Additionally, as other countries face similar demographic challenges, they may look to Japan for solutions and strategies to address their own populations’ decline.

Cultural Shifts

Addressing Japan’s demographic crisis will likely require significant cultural shifts. This could include changing societal norms around marriage and child-rearing, promoting gender equality in the workplace, and encouraging immigration to address labor shortages. However, these changes may be slow to implement as they require a fundamental shift in cultural values and beliefs.

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