The past week has seen several articles emerge over Japan’s falling birthrate. While politician Noda Seiko has suggested outlawing abortion as a means of combating Japan’s demographic crisis, journalist Torigoe Shuntaro outlines a very different policy in the last of his Mainichi Shimbun columns.
Torigoe’s plan is fairly simple: give couples a financial incentive that increases with the number of children they have. That is, pay people to give birth. Economically speaking, the plan might have some merits, but netizens were quick to point out that it would be far more effective to reduce the overall cost of child-rearing by taking measures such as eliminating school fees. Others blasted Torigoe’s “idiotic” suggestion, with some saying that it could be a dangerous move that would effectively encourage mothers to give birth on the black market.
The News Master: The Future of the Falling Birthrate and Ageing Population, by Torigoe Shuntaro.
◇ The Gloom of a Decreasing Population
This will be my final column and I would like to thank all my readers for reading this column over the years. Since this is the last time I’ll write here, I think I’d like to write about what worries me the most these days. That is, Japanese society as it will be seen in the not too distant future of the ‘falling birthrate and ageing population’, which is now proceeding with a terrible vigor in Japan.
Last year, the ‘National Social Security Population Research Institute’ published population projections for Japan for the years to come. With 128,060,000 people in 2010, the population of Japan would start to fall to 101,662,000 by 2030, and by 2048, (roughly 40 years later), it would be bordering on 100,000,000, with a population of 99,130,000 people. Then, in 2060, after 50 years, it is anticipated that the population will be 86,740,000. So 50 years from now, a total of 41,320,000 Japanese people will disappear. Can you imagine Japan as a country where 40,000,000 people are no longer here?
In fact, in Showa 28 (1953), the population of Japan was 89,980,000 people. It was in Showa 42 (1967) that it exceeded 100,000,000. Therefore, we can also say that in the next fifty years, we will simply return to Showa 28!
However, when the economy was growing steadily, and the population was increasing, there was an optimism for the future, that ‘tomorrow will be better than today’, but with a falling population ahead, there is no bright future or optimism to be seen.
Let’s take a look at the breakdown of generations in 2060. The population of children aged between 0 and 14 years is estimated to be 9.1% (around 1/10), the population of adults of reproductive age, between 15 and 64, will be 50.9% (around 5/10), and the population of the elderly aged 65 and above is estimated at 39.9% (around 4/10).
That is to say that the generation who are working, who will support the various parts of the social security system such as tax, pensions, medical care, nursing, and unemployment, will be 5/10, or to put it another way, the day will come when we have a 1-to-1 society in which one person will be supporting another.
At the moment, we have approximately a 2-to-1 in which 65% of the population is of working age supports 35% of the population. Even now, sustaining the social security is difficult, but it would surely be impossible to support a 1-to-1 society.
In order to turn this ‘despair’ into ‘hope’, we must put a stop to the falling population. It’s a matter of whether the younger generation will do their best to have more children, or whether we take in more immigrants.
And at that, I’ll give a final suggestion — rather than pouring billions of yen into public projects, create policies to encourage an increase in the population! How about this policy? — We’ll give you 50,000,000 yen when you give birth to your second child, and 100,000,000 yen when you give birth to your third!
Comments from Twitter:
He really is a home-run class fool. This self-styled intellectual, who probably doesn’t even know the number of prefectures in Japan, is really something else!
If you’ve got three kids, can you get 150,000,000 yen? w
加納斉親 is ニューノウン:
An example of a journalist who is incapable of imagining anything other than handouts as a policy to curb the falling birthrate. This will only foster child neglect.
Night And Day:
Only yakuza are going to be happy about this kind of stuff…In Japanese society everything is the responsibility of the individual, so isn’t it better if we get rid of benefits like this, including social welfare? www The only people who stand to gain from this are the scroungers and their chums.
Seems like he’s not seeing anything other than how difficult maternity expenses are. It’s important that we cultivate an environment that supports child upbringing.
When I see a dyed-in-the-wool idiot like this, I get the mistaken impression that only fools can become journalists.
Gooktaro is a dumbass…Instead of reimbursing maternity expenses, make it free, increase the number of childcare facilities and make them free. That would really make a difference.
I seem to recall that the previous government didn’t get anywhere with handout policies like child allowance, and remarks about handouts that go beyond that are really idiotic.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea. But if they’re doing that, isn’t it better to eliminate school fees?
If he’s saying this on a mathematical basis, then I think it’s amazing he’s worked all that out, but it seems like he’s just saying casually, talking about it on a whim and leaving the rest to the experts. Well, it’s pretty flimsy.
No matter how much money you dole out, it will be to no avail unless we adjust the infrastructure and our social understanding. First of all, stop discriminating against children from unmarried mothers, and improve policies that support women’s employment. Just do things by the book!
I wonder if he really cares about the situation of Japan, where the nation is going to be in decline because so few children are being born. I think it would be a good idea if they had the a set-up where the elderly, who can’t take their money to the grave with them, became the sponsors of new-born children…The rest is just business intelligence.
Comments from 2ch.net:
It’s going to cause a secret yakuza business, so FAIL.
How is this different from child allowances?
Great idea. So the kids born because of this policy will then also bear the debt it creates, right?
Isn’t this just going to pay for the pachinko bill for parents of kids who aren’t getting brought up properly?
Gonna need a huge tax increase for this.
We don’t want your money, just give us a third floor on our house.
So dumb. First of all, make childbirth and maternity fucking free!
How much does he think it costs to bring a child up until they’re an adult? Does this idiot think it only costs 50,000,000 yen?
I reckon Torigoe should pay for out of his own pocket, right?
The zainichi population is going to rise.
Kid: ‘Mommy, why was I born?’
Mother: ‘Because Mommy and Daddy wanted you so much’
In the future…
Kid:’Mommy, why was I born?’
Mother: ‘Because we got money for it, fool.’