Miguel CoronaDr. StrauezPolitics of Japan11/13/2017Japan’sdeclining populationIntroductionThepopulation of a given country is the whole number of inhabitants that live inthat country. Many nations face significant changes in their demographics. Thereare general factors that influence population changes in a particular state.Some of the factors causing demographic changes include birth rates, deathrates, immigration.
According to the latest statistics of 1st October 2015,Japan’s population was 127, 094,745 down from 128,057,352 (Goldfarb, 2014). Thepopulation makes Japan the tenth-most populous country in the world. Thisnumber has declined by 0.8% from the last recorded historical decline of 1945(Rosenbaum, 2015). In this essay, I will argue that there are numerous reasons currentlycausing the rapid decline of Japan’s population ranging from economic tonatural factors, with the most impactful factor being irregular work. Research QuestionTheresearch will attempt to answer why there is a decline in Japan’s populationand its birth rates. The research will seek this answer through analyzing theissue of irregular work, labor shortages and how the entry of women in theworkforce has influenced birth rates.
The research will also look in to howimmigration might be a solution for the declining Japanese birth rate. Finally,the study will look into other problems caused by the declining Japanese population. Research outline and findingsCausesof the Japan declining population and low birthsLikemany other European countries Japan’s population and birth rates increasedsignificantly after the World War II. Most of the children who were born duringthe ‘Baby Boomers,’ immediately after the WWII are now at their retirement age(Coulmas, 2007). For a long time, there have been great improvements in thehealthcare which has helped in the formulation of favourable conditions for peopleto have longer life spans.
However, there has been a drop in the birth rate,causing an increasing stagnation of Japan’s population. According to the UNWorld Population Prospects of 2015, Japan’s population steadily increased from82 million in 1950 to 127 million in 2015. According to the forecast, thepopulation will decline to 107 million people by the year 2050 as shown in theforecasted figures below (Rosenbaum, 2015). Year Population 1950 82 million 2015 127 million 2030 120 million 2050 107 million The forecasted figuresshow that if corrective measures are not made to combat causes of populationdecline, there will be a continuous decline in population.Impactsof irregular work on Japan populationAccordingto the research done by Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, it wasprojected that by October 2014 more than 19.62 million Japanese people wouldhave irregular jobs (Coulmas, 2007).
Most companies prefer using irregularemployees to meet the ever-changing work dynamics. According to many employers,the decision to engage workers under irregular basis is to search for the bestindividuals to suit the market sector. The research also found that employersare turning to use more irregular workers because they are easy to hire andfire. As a result, many people have become hardship prone and it has becomeharder for them to stabilize their employment.
However, the research alsoshowed that some workers preferred the occasional work because they can decideon their own the type of work program they can take (Coulmas, 2007). Theirregular working program has resulted in inequality of payment between thefull-time employed and the casual workers. Causes of the Japan’sdeclining populationTherehas been an increase in the number of unmarried individuals’ due to economicchallenges. Most of the Japanese of between 20 and 40 years are highly hesitantto get married because of the fear of economic uncertainties. Over a longperiod, many countries have been faced with economic crisis leaving peopleundecided on the next move of settling down on marriage (Rosenbaum, 2015).
Manyof the young people in Japan are therefore not ready to start having familyresponsibilities which may bring more economic strain.Thestudy also found out that late marriage caused by social advancement of womenin the society has contributed to the declining population (Goldfarb,2014). Due to the continuous efforts ofeconomy players to increase women participation in economic duties in the countrymany ladies are delaying to get married to have more time of improving theircareers for competing with their male counterparts. As a result, many womendelay in giving birth thus reducing the population.Thethird research finding was that there is an increase in the number of womengiving birth above the average age as a result of late marriage (Dalton, 2017p.
96). The primary influencing factor causing most women to prefer givingbirth later in the middle age is their priority in economic stability beforeengaging in family matters.Theresearch also pointed to birth–unfriendly social environment as a cause in thereduction of the birth rate. Most Japanese people tend to prioritize careerdevelopment to childbearing leading to the decrease in birth rates in thecountry. As a result, many people have started perceiving pregnancy asimmorality and a factor that reduces a woman’s attractiveness. Finally,finally we can see that most women prefer having fewer children or no childrenat all. The reason why most women prefer to have less or no children is due to theJapanese working culture, as well as expensive schooling, career developmentpriority, and importance of work promotions.
Low child rate per woman is shownin the graph below (World Bank). Howlabor shortages and women in workforce influences birth ratesThestudy found out that there are fewer opportunities for women to get employed informal jobs. The long working hours that women found themselves in limits themtime for caring for their children.
Because of the limited opportunities of thewomen in getting employed in corporate works they become restricted inimproving their social space in the society leading to them engaging incontinuous advancement of their career (Chanlett, 2014). Womenentry in Japan workforce has a significant impact on the country’s birth rates.Historically in Japan, it has been known that men are the breadwinners of thefamily, a factor that has been making many families vulnerable due to the lowemployment opportunities in formal employment. In families that both the wifeand the husband are employed, in case of childbirth, more than 70% of the wivesleave their jobs to start childcare (Chanlett, 2014). Due to this factor, womenwho are employed prefer not getting children or give birth to less than twochildren to concentrate on building their career.HowJapan immigration will solve the declining birth ratesDespitethe integration of Japan with the world economy, there has been a homogenouspopulation for a long period (Dalton, 2017 p. 97). It is therefore importantthat the immigration department should endeavor to improve the country’sdemographic characteristics by allowing immigrants from all over the world toget access to the country easily.
Benefits of a heterogeneous population are sonumerous. As a result, new dimensions of performing various tasks areincorporated into the native populations thus improving their general life.There are new changes that immigrants can bring to a country. For instance, thefact that Japan has been experiencing a continuous decline in population andbirth rates may significantly gain from new dynamics into the social life.
Japan’simmigration policies have for a long time failed to address the issue ofimmigrants who wish to school, work or live in Japan. A better immigrationpolicy will help in decreasing the continuous declining Japanese population.The benefits that are associated with having a diverse economy comprisingpeople from all races are far-fetched. An immigration policy is needed inJapan, this would raise the sustainability in various family aspects such asbirth rates. (Bloom, 2011 p. 22).
By allowing immigrants, the country will haveessential labor personnel who help in increasing better relationships among theJapanese people. The Japanese people have for a long period been experiencing adecline in the value of having families. The immigrants will thus help inimproving intermarriages between the Japanese people and the foreigners. Theresult is increased childbirths. The immigrants will also introduce newideologies relating to marriage and childbearing. Mostof the Japanese women who prefer career development than marriage will beinfluenced by the changed ideologies from the immigrants (Coulmas, 2007).Consequently, there will be an increased balance between family life andemployment matters.
Most of the young people who will interact with the peoplefrom other countries in the world will learn more about new cultures and thegeneral meaning of having a family. Impactsof the declining Japan populationThedeclining Japanese population has led to large impacts on its economy. Manysectors face being in operational or underperforming (Bloom, 2011 p. 22).
Forinstance, the reduced birth rates have led to a decrease of energetic peoplewho are responsible for engaging in activities that help in running theeconomy. The reduced birth rates have resulted in demographic imbalance giving riseto high numbers of the elderly than young and energetic people. An example of this imbalance can be seen inthe farming community, according to the 2016 estimates, there is a high levelof elderly people in Japan as shown below (Maclachlan, 2016 p. 450) Age % Male Female 0-14 12.97 8,472,869 7,963,782 15-24 9.67 6,436,935 5,813,222 25-54 37.68 23,593,194 24,145,406 55-64 12.4 7,867,611 7,840,141 65 and over 27.
28 15,080,738 19,488,235 Fromthe figures, we can see that people ranging from 15-24 and 0-14 years are muchless those of 65 years and above. This implies that the future Japan economywill be greatly affected by massive lack of workforce necessary in building thenation.Thelow birth rate translates to a low number of energetic people to work inagricultural production.
The research found out that there has been a reductionin the number of labors in the agricultural fields translating to a reductionin food production (Maclachlan, 2016 p. 443). There has also been a reductionin the total number of farming households from the year 1965 to 2005. The tablebelow summarizes the impacts that reduced population has had in theagricultural sector (Itabashi, 2009, p. 446). 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 Area of cultivated land (million ha) 6.00 5.
57 5.38 5.04 4.69 Total number of farming households (million) 5.
66 4.95 4.23 3.44 2.85 Agricultural working population (million) 11.51 7.91 5.
43 4.14 3.35 Core agricultural workers 8.94 4.89 3.46 2.56 2.24 Theresearch proposes that the Japanese Government should establish an immigrationpolicy that will allow for an increased number of immigrants.
These immigrants inturn can help by working in fields that the younger people tend to want to stayaway from. Such as farm work which in turn can help in building the economy. ConclusionTheresearch has pointed out that there are various reasons why the Japanesepopulation is declining and the reduced birth rates. The drop in population islargely related to the reduced desire of the young people of getting married.The Japanese people prefer building their career first before starting toengage in family matters.
Women also prefer giving birth to less than twochildren or none at all. Research has also indicated that the decliningpopulation has negative impacts on the economy. A reduction in birth ratestranslates to a low number of young and energetic people who are responsiblefor engaging in all daily aspects of life in Japan, whom without the countrywould cease to exist. WorksCitedAvery,Emma, and Rebecca M. Nelson. “” Womenomics” in Japan: InBrief.” Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia23.4 (2014): 411.
Bloom,David E., et al. “Population aging: facts, challenges, andresponses.
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Population decline and ageing in Japan-the social consequences.Routledge, 2007.Dalton,Emma. “Womenomics, ‘Equality ‘and Abe’s Neo-liberal Strategy to MakeJapanese Women Shine.” Social Science Japan Journal 20.1 (2017):95-105.
Goldfarb,Kathryn. “Anne Allison’s Precarious Japan.” Somatosphere(2014).
Itabashi,Kazuo, et al. “Mortality rates for extremely low birth weight infants bornin Japan in 2005.” Paediatrics 123.2 (2009): 445-450.Maclachlan,Patricia L., and Kay Shimizu. “Japanese Farmers in Flux.” AsianSurvey 56.
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