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Japan’s Shrinking Population

I was just reading on MSNBC about a very real problem in Japan: their shrinking population. You can read the article here:

This is a big problem. With people in Japan living on average longer lifespans than the rest of the world and not enough young people to support the “elderly economy”, it is a structure that will not support the country for any length of time. Unlike in China, where they are trying to rein in overpopulation by limiting how many children a couple may have, Japan needs to create some sort of incentive for people to HAVE children.

The whole dynamic of Japanese family life has shifted since women have left the home to be in the workplace. There are prices to be paid for this shift; women are more concerned about their careers and making it than having a family and being at home to support them. I cannot lay this situation solely on the women of Japan. Although the country is uniquely homogenous, they may, for the sake of the country’s ultimate survival, have to revisit their immigration policy.

Here’s my suggestion: 1) revisit the immigration policy and start a period of open immigration from select countries for, say 5 years. at that point, see where they are population-wise (adults and newborn children) to determine how much longer they should maintain the current policy. 2) create incentive programs for business women so that they can have their jobs and still have a family life. this would require a HUGE SHIFT on the part of a dominantly male society, so that working mothers could be a possibility. this would include on-site day care, work-from-home programs, etc.

I don’t know how feasible any of this is considering how unusually traditional Japanese family life CAN be. The relationship between husband and wife (as well as getting people to the point where they are seeking long-term relationships with others) is going to have to be revisited and adjusted in order to keep Japan alive. I’m so disturbed by this… that entire towns can disappear, that people don’t see the birth of children for years at a time. Big business and the government are going to have to be a support in having this happen. What can each person do so that the population gets moving, one person at a time? I’m going to keep thinking of ideas.