demographics of japan

The Demographics of Japan



scared literally shrink/shrank/shrunk
cripple life span demographic
threat majority sentiment
entire statistics approximately
warn situation roughly (2)
expert head (2) pressure (2)
mere drop (2) dramatically (2)
rate climb (2) project (2)
panic volunteer couple (2)
curse blessing bothersome
choose date (3) survey (2)
pastor postpone relationship
folks record (3) than ever before
try face (2) challenging
strain evident explode (2)
care staff (2) nursing home
rely elderly encourage
crisis institute workforce
flee retiree charge (3)
senior impact community
attend support time bomb
pray pack (3) milestone
assist anymore indicative
invest suit (2) mutual fund
offset wear (2) innovation
affect call for large-scale
delay collapse immigration
solve against by the way
local vision (2) lead the pack
trend area (2) consequence
rapid remain devastating






Japan in shrinking. Literally.

Inside the Asian nation, more people are dying than being born.

Father with Son: “I’m scared for the future of my children and my country.”

A demographic time bomb has already exploded, threatening to cripple the world’s third-largest economy.

Young Woman: “The problem is that young women are having enough children to
keep our country going.”

Japan’s population has shrunk by a record one million since 2008. At the same time, the Japanese are living longer.

Japan is home to the fasting aging society in the entire world.

There are approximately 33 million over the age of 65; that’s roughly 25% of the country. And experts warn that number could reach as high as forty percent.

Ryuichi Kaneko, Head Statistician, National Institute of Population: “We’re dealing with an unprecedented situation: no other country in the world is facing such a crisis.”

Ryuichi Kaneko is Head Statistician of Japan’s National Institute of Population. He says if the situation doesn’t change, and change dramatically, Japan’s population will drop from 127 million today to 107 million in 2040; 87 million by 2060, and a mere 46 million by 2100.

Ryuichi Kaneko, Head Statistician, National Institute of Population: “And the rate of aging in Japan will only climb. We’re projecting that by 2060, 40% of the population will be 65 years or older.

The government is in a panic. Ten years ago, it created an agency to encourage couples to have more children.

Mother: “Having a family is a beautiful thing. I’m trying to encourage others to see it as a blessing and not a curse.”

But a study this year shows the Japanese just aren’t interested in sex or marriage: a record 50 percent of married couples said they’ve stopped having sex.

Among the main reasons: 21% of men said they were too tired after work; 23% of women said sex was bothersome.

Ryuichi Kaneko, Head Statistician, National Institute of Population: “This is why Japan is known in the world as the country with very few children.”

Kaneko also discovered that millions of Japanese aren’t even dating. A survey did in 2011 found 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women in their 20s and 30s were not in any kind of romantic relationship.

Ryuichi Kaneko, Head Statistician, National Institute of Population: “And if they are in a relationship, they’re postponing marriage too much later in life. We’re simply choosing to remain unmarried.”

A sentiment shared with CBN News by several young folks on the streets of Tokyo.

Woman: “There are more women working today than ever before and that’s good since it will help with Japan’s shrinking labor force. But this also means that women are delaying or choosing not to get married.”

Man: “Life in the city is very expensive. Trying to start a family or having children will make it even more challenging.”

The strain of falling birth rates, a shrinking labor force, and longer life spans is evident at this Christian nursing home west of Tokyo.

Director Satoru Gocha doesn’t have the staff to care for the elderly — he must rely on church volunteers, many of whom by the way, are over 65 themselves.

Satoru Gocha, Nursing Home Director: “A shrinking workforce means we have older people looking after the very old. This crisis is putting a lot of pressure on the government and society to care for the aging.”

In the next 25 years, experts say half of Japan’s towns and small cities could lose many of their young people, especially women in their 20s and 30s as they flee to big cities, leaving retirees behind.

Taja Morimoto already feels the impact.

Taja Morimoto, Pastor: “There aren’t many children coming to church school anymore and then only seniors means the church will have to close some day because there won’t be enough people to support the church anymore.”

Morimoto pastors a small church on the outskirts of Tokyo. The majority of those who attend are over 70 years old, like the takedas who have been married for 52 years.

Mrs. Takeda: “Young people work so hard they don’t have time to socialize or start a family. We are praying that this changes.”

Morimoto and other area pastors encourage young people to move to towns.

Taja Morimoto, Pastor: “Our local pastors here have a vision to create more Christian homes in this community, so they are providing matchmaking between churches to encourage young people to get married and have Christian homes.”

This is Tsukomo, a community just north of Tokyo. It’s indicative of many communities all across Japan, where the majority of the folks who live in these communities are over the age of 65, while some experts say the solution to Japan’s graying problem are robots and foreign immigration.

Leading the charge is 68 year old Atsuto Sawakami, who runs a popular mutual fund in Tokyo. He’s investing millions of dollars in companies developing robots to assist the elderly.

Atsuto Sawakami, Funds Manager: “I’m interested in robotic suit technology that the elderly can wear to help them move around, plus other innovations that will help offset our shrinking labor force.”

Sawakami is also calling for large-scale foreign immigration or else he says Japan will face an economic collapse.

But the idea of opening up to foreigners is not a popular one.

Woman: “I’m not against foreigners, but this is a Japanese problem and we need to solve it.”

And Japan by the way, isn’t the only society getting old fast: Moody’s Investors’ Service says in the thirteen countries, including France and Sweden will be super aged with twenty percent of the population over 65. The United States will reach that milestone by 2030, along with 34 other countries.

Right now, Japan leads the pack, and Kaneko says if trends don’t change and the country cannot quickly find solutions, the consequences will be devastating.

Ryuichi Kaneko, Head Statistician, National Institute of Population: “The impact of our rapidly aging society will affect every area of our country.”

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1. Are more babies being born than people dying, or are more people dying than babies being born?

2. Is Japan’s population growing or shrinking? In the future, will its population be larger or smaller?

3. Japan’s remaining population is getting older. True or false? Will there be more old people in the future?

4. Does Japan lead the world in terms of having an older, aging population?

5. What is the government’s position or attitude on demographics?

6. Modern Japanese are very romantic and hedonistic. Is this right or wrong? Are the Japanese dating, getting married early and starting families? Why

7. The Japanese are xenophobic. Is this correct or incorrect?

8. Who are more religious, younger or older people? Do young people (want to) look after older people?


A. Describe your country’s demographics. Is it similar to Japan’s? Was it different in the past?

B. Why is it like this? How have things been changing?

C. What are the consequences of an older, shrinking population? Is this good, bad, both, in the middle?

D. What will happen in the future?

E. What are some solutions to these challenges?


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