Saturday, May 12, 2012

Japan - Japan faces “extinction” in 1000 years

News that another Mayan calendar has been discovered, giving humanity an extra 7000 years beyond 2012, was released this week and the gullible folk among us let out a collective sigh of relief.

But things aren’t looking so good for Japan.

On Friday, a group of researchers at Tohoku University’s ‘Economics of Age’ department released a population clock which predicts that in 999 years time, there will be no children under 15 years old left in Japan.

At the moment there are 16.6 million children aged 15 and under in Japan, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and communications.

Lead researcher Hiroshi Yoshida told the Japan Times that he released the clock as a wake-up call for Japan’s would-be parents.

“By indicating it in figures, I want people to think about the problem of the falling birthrate with a sense of urgency,” he said.

The clock, which can be seen on the university’s website, shows that Japan’s population drops by one person every 100 seconds.

In a press release, Yoshida said the population clock research was started in honour of Children’s Day (March 5th) but “Children’s Day 3011 will not come” if Japan’s birthrate continues to decline at its current rate.

Japan’s birthrate has been a source of worry since it fell below 2 in 1975. Currently, Japan’s birth rate is 1.39 however it is expected to be as low as 1.35 in 50 years.

Meanwhile, Japan Today reports that Japan’s life expectancy is expected to rise even further to from 86.39 years in 2010 to 90.93 years in 2060 for women and from 79.64 years to 84.19 years for men.

The website also says that Unicharm, a feminine hygeine and diaper company, has reported that sales of its adult diapers has “slightly surpassed” those for babies for the first time.

The New York Times reports that another demographic study shows that by 2040, there could be one centenarian for every newborn in Japan.

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