The Rapidly Disappearing Nation of Japan

May 22, 2014

Zachary Fillingham

Japan Tokyo Baby Festival


Labor is a fundamental driver of economic growth, both in terms of quality and quantity. As for the former – quality – Japan is home to a highly-educated and diligent workforce that can compete with any other country in the developed world. When it comes to quantity, however, Japan has a serious problem that has been mystifying various governments for the past 15 years.

Japan is in the grips of a major population crisis. Its total fertility rate is 1.4, which puts it among the lowest in the world, and if no radical changes are made the government projects that the 2013 population of 126 million could plummet to as low as 72 million by 2060. In 2013 alone the country shed 244,000 people. These harrowing estimates have led to disagreements over what demographic decline means for Japan’s future economic prospects. There has never been a case like it before; Japan is blazing a trail, but it’s one that no one would dare to follow.

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  • ChristmasCactus

    Ok, so the country will have less people and make less money. Property prices will fall, productivity will fall and to a certain degree quality as well. On the bright side, food will become cheaper, land will be more affordable.

    It seems that the only guaranteed losers in this scenario are the banks and creditors.

    • Jim Beam

      creditors which include the population at large sinking buckets of yen into JGBS, strangely.

      • ChristmasCactus

        If they haven’t yet figured out that savers are losers by now, it will be an unfortunate consequence.
        The meaning of “Money in the bank” is fast changing in a similar way as “safe as houses”.


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