Japan’s fertility problem hit a new low last year. It was the first time since 1899 that fewer than one million babies were born in the country.
Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research predicts that country’s population of 127 million will decline by 40 million in the next 50 years.
Young Japanese are less interested or unable to start families and immigration rates are lower. Demographic experts believe these are the primary causes of the decline. Ageing is also a considerable factor in Japan’s dwindling population. At the moment 27% of the Japanese population is older than 65.
Mary Brinton, a Harvard sociologist explains that Japan’s work culture often prizes long hours at the expense of an active social life. More and more women enter the labor force and both sexes are finding it difficult to start a family. “This is death to the family,” according to Brinton.
Other countries, including USA, Denmark and China are facing similar problems with low fertility rates.
A 2016 study showed that nearly 70% of unmarried Japanese men and 60% of unmarried Japanese women weren’t in relationships, even though most of them said they do want to get married.