The Land of the Rising Sun
Japan, often called “The Land of the Rising Sun”, has struggled through its history to rise up and become today’s third largest economic power in terms of nominal gross domestic product. Japan holds the tenth largest population in the world with 127.8 million citizens all working to produce a GDP of roughly $4.44 trillion. Though these figures and rankings depict Japan as a current world leader, these statistics are sure to falter in the coming decades. Japan’s trends of low birth rates, long life expectancy, a decreasing marriage rate and reluctancy to immigration will lead to a rapidly aging population that cannot be sustained. This aging dilemma will cause a strain on both the government and society to reevaluate social norms and practices that cause inefficiencies in the economy. The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has gathered statistics and determined the age composition to of Japan to have 23.3% of its population 65 years of age or older in 2011. This ratio is expected to grow to by over sixty-six percent to 38.8% by 2050, a mere 40 years later. Concurrently, the child population (ages 0-14) in Japan, which was at 13.1% in 2011, is expected to drop over twenty-six percent to 9.7% by 2050. The 2011 life expectancy of an average Japanese individual was 82 years of age (the highest of any country in the world) and is also expected to gradually increase by 2050. The country as a whole will be aging faster than the fertility rate and thus there will not be a large enough labor force to support the elderly. A reason for the decreasing birth rate is a decrease in marriages. The early 1970s seemed to be a time of love with over one million marriages annually in Japan. In 2011, couples tying the knot dropped to only 662,000; as a result, the marriage rate fell for the third consecutive year. Some blame the decrease in marriages to be a consequence of the digital revolution that allows Japanese...
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