Where is Paul Anka when we need him?
In Japan, birthrates are now so low and life expectancy so great that the nation will soon have a demographic profile that matches that of the American retirement community of Palm Springs. “Gradually but relentlessly,” the demographer Nick Eberstadt writes in the latest issue of The Wilson Quarterly, “Japan is evolving into a type of society whose contours and workings have only been contemplated in science fiction.”
Ross Douthat, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times (April 28, 2012)
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In Japan, this problem has become very serious, and we often see many TV programs about low birthrates and an increase of elderly in the near future. However, since there was a long time when the baby boom happened, the downfall of the birthrates is unavoidable.
The economy is hugely related to this problem. Many people in these days are making efforts with their children to receive enough education. The society has become much more difficult for people without an education to have jobs and to live. I heard news from the radio that the employment rate in Japan this year was sixty percent, including the university graduated students. I wonder who would want to make so many babies and raise them in this severe situation of the country. It is the most significant thing that the economy gets better. Even though improving economy takes a long time and requires a lot of energy, that will certainly soften the rapid decrease in low birthrates.
This is one of the topics that has been discussed since I was in junior high. I have two suggestion I will like to make. First of all, why the birth rate is declining so fast is that the Japanese government doesn’t give good offers to the families who have children. No doubt, Japan is a very expensive place to raise a child. When a couple gets married, they don’t want children because it costs a lot. Northern Europe does a great deal for families. They want more children because the government pays the education fees and allows the parents to get a long leave from work to be able to spend time with their children. Japan may have to change its policies so that we feel comfortable to have a child. The second suggestion is that because the birth rate is small, more and more elderly people will increase. For the future of Japan, our generation has to look after them. However, as a globalized world, the young generation wants to get out of Japan and do something big in a foreign country. This may not be something we can stop because it is good for Japan to have more internationalized opinions.
Japan will be a country with only old people left and the culture will go extinct if we don’t take care of them. But I don’t think it is our absolute job to look after them. Doesn’t it sound better if we obtain more knowledge from other countries and come back to Japan and spread it? It is a difficult point, but a declining population isn’t what Japan wants.