Turning Japanese

I’m turning Japanese
I think I’m turning Japanese
I really think so

This insipid song from the 80s makes more sense than this stupid story

The announcement that Japan’s population fell by almost a quarter of a million in 2013 – the fifth consecutive annual fall – brought warnings that the country may be in terminal decline.

Japan has the world’s oldest population, with a median age of 46 years, an average lifespan of 84, and a quarter of the population over 65. But this doesn’t have to mean a gloomy future. What happens in the coming years might even point the way for other countries.

Japanese longevity can’t compensate for its ultra-low fertility rate – just 1.4 children per woman. Hard-working Japanese society has “embraced voluntary mass childlessness”, says Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC. One in four don’t have children. Some European countries also have low fertility rates, but top up with migrants. Insular Japan does not.

Not only do Japanese not have immigrants and not have children, they don’t have sex.

Who needs kids?

The conventional view is that this is bad news: shrinking numbers hobble economic growth and the ageing population is a major financial burden. But Eberstadt says there is another side. The proportion of Japan’s population that is dependent on those of working age isn’t unusual, he says, it’s just that it has almost twice as many over-65s as children. Consequently Japan spends less on education. And because the Japanese are the world’s healthiest, care bills are also lower than in other nations.

Thanks to the falling population, individual income has been rising strongly – outperforming most US citizens’.

With 127 million people, Japan is hardly empty. But fewer people in future will mean it has more living space, more arable land per head, and a higher quality of life, says Eberstadt. Its demands on the planet for food and other resources will also lessen.

There you go. It’s about human vermin crawling all over the lovely planet. Were Japanese people starving from a shortage of arable land? Are their 127 million people seriously straining “the planet”?

It’s not just Japanese who are “vermin”: we’re all vermin now!

Japan isn’t alone in demographic contraction: Russia, Romania and Hungary all follow the trend. For many more, it is being delayed by immigration. But the global population bomb is slowly being defused. As Swedish statistician Hans Rosling first noted, the world recently reached “peak child” – the point where the number of children aged 0 to 14 around the globe levels off. Global fertility rates have halved in 40 years – they are now below 2.5 children per woman – and global population may peak soon.

So, far from being a demographic outlier, Japan is “the world leader in demographic change”, says Aoki.

As Japan goes, so goes Romania! What a selling point. And if immigration is supposed to be a savior of childless societies, look at Malmo and the banlieues of Paris to see how Swedish and French their immigrant communities are.

[O]thers believe that peak population is a necessary first step to reducing our assault on the planet’s life-support systems. In that case, following Japan’s example may be just the ticket.

I really don’t care how many people there are on the planet. I’m already here, and so are my offspring. The rest of humanity can go screw (or not, if Japanese). But don’t sell me chicken[bleep] and call it chicken salad. The “planet’s resources” are fine; societies that have their acts together (a small minority, granted, though including Japan) can feed, clothe, house their citizens with relative ease. You want to save humanity (they don’t) and save the planet (they do), implement free market reforms.

And if you seriously think we can afford decades of retired oldsters because we’ll be spending less on pre-K, I have some vintage sushi for sale. Mark Steyn is laughing has ass off.

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