TOKYO (Church Militant.com) - Numbers recently released by the Japanese government show that the newborn population has dipped below 1 million for the first time in more than a hundred years.
Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare released demographic data for 2016 revealing the biggest net decrease in the almost 10 years of population decline. The birthrate has fallen to its lowest level since World War II, with only 981,000 births, while the death rate is estimated at 1.3 million. It's the lowest number of births since the census first began in 1899.
Officials projecting the figures have determined the overall population of Japan to decrease to 99.1 million by 2048 and to 86.7 million — a decrease of nearly one third from today's population of 126 million. Additionally, the people are aging, decreasing the working population by almost half — an estimated 46 percent — over the same time period.
With this level of reduction in the tax base, government officials are concerned about the country's ability to provide for the aging population and maintain infrastructure.
"From now on, we will have more and more unmarried elderly people, in particular men, said Noriko Tsuya, a professor at Keio University and demographics expert. But all the social systems of this country, including the tax, public pension and public nursing systems, are based on the assumption that everyone will have a family. This tradition is now collapsing in Japan."
"A rapidly aging society with fewer children will also make it much more costly to support the elderly, sapping the disposable income of the working generation," said Sumio Saruyama, lead economist at the Japan Center for Economic Research. "This means Japan will be far poorer than now."
The government, attempting to ease the burden on the younger generation, changed immigration laws in February 2017 allowing permanent residency to highly skilled workers.
A strong cultural pressure to conform and succeed in business, coupled with a disbelief in mental health services, the Japanese are left with no way to handle failure. Many young people after experiencing a loss of some sort, be it lack of a job offer in college or just low grades, become so crippled with fear and shame that they hide away for months and even years. They are known as Hikikomori, and by some estimates number more than 500,000.
The numbers of Japanese rejecting marriage or dating and choosing the single life are also at historic highs. A study by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research found 60 percent of women and 70 percent of men aged 18–34 are not in a relationship, though 90 percent would like to have a family at "some point in the future."
This lack of personal relationships is shown in the decline in marriage rate, the lowest since 1947. With only five marriages per 1,000 people, the birthrate cannot be expected to increase anytime soon. Even within marriage, the use of contraception and acceptance of abortion are widespread.
More women are waiting to have children until after their career, or not having them at all. Japanese women in the workplace can even experience pressure to have an abortion to avoid "inconveniencing" co-workers.
Another factor to consider is the suicide rate. Japan's is the third highest the world. "Japan has no history of Christianity," says Wataru Nishida, a psychologist at Tokyo's Temple University, "so here suicide is not a sin. In fact, some look at it as a way of taking responsibility."
Many men, unable to provide for their families, choose to kill themselves for the insurance money. "There is sometimes an intolerable pressure on the elderly that the most loving thing they can do is take their lives and thereby provide for their family," says Ken Joseph of the Japan Helpline.
Euthanasia will be the next big push by the population control crowd. Citing the economic burden on the younger generation, lawmakers may be persuaded into believing this to be an effective "solution." It is already practiced throughout the world, and now increasingly in America, with or without the patient's consent — a practice known as pallitive sedation, which is nothing more than de facto euthanasia. Though not technically legal, it claims to "avoid agony and distress" of the patients, or family members present, during their final moments.
Japan is not alone in its depopulation plight. Countries such as Germany, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Russia are all facing aging and decreasing populations. The Population Research Institute (PRI) and its project Overpopulationisamyth.com are debunking the notion that the world is overcrowded and that our quality of life increases with fewer people on earth. In fact, it is shown to be just the opposite. They have shown historically that quality of life improves with an increase in population.
Japan appears to be on the leading edge of the population decrease trend. Many other countries have birthrates well below the replacement rate of 2.1, but Japan's is one of the lowest at 1.4, with 7.8 births per 1,000 people. Their historically strict anti-immigration stance keeps their country's demographic data free of the influx of migrants that would mask the decline.
Japan's rapidly shrinking population is a clear indicator of the effects of contraception and serves as a warning to other countries on the same trajectory.