Japan has a problem, a lack of children, and it seems likely there will be even fewer in the future.
Japanese researchers have now warned of a doomsday scenario if it carries on this way with the last child to be born there in 3011 and the Japanese people potentially disappearing a few generations later.
Academics from the city of Sendai, which was hit hard by last year’s tsunami, calculate there are now 16.6 million children under the age of 14 now in Japan.
And they say that number is shrinking at a disturbing rate of one every 100 seconds.
So if you do the mathematics, as they did, then the country will have no children within a millennium.
Another study recently showed Japan’s population is expected to fall a third from its current 127.7 million over the next century.
The question everybody asks is why is there a lack of children?
The answer seems to lie in several reasons.
One reason is the cost. Japan is an extremely expensive country and getting a child through college can wipe out a family’s finances.
But research shows it goes much deeper than that as the Japanese state does throw a lot of money at people with children.
Another argument is that there are more effeminate men now called “Herbivores” there who are either not interested in sex or women don’t find masculine enough.
Then some suggest many young Japanese people prefer “virtual” friends with a robot or on the internet, while others suggest their fascination with comics rather than relationships is the cause for a lack of babies.
A study was released earlier this year in which it showed Japan’s young people are shunning the idea of marriage and having children.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research study also showed one in four unmarried men and women in their 30s had never had sex, and most young women preferred being single.
It also showed over 60 percent of unmarried young men didn’t have a girlfriend, and nearly 50 percent of women of the same age weren’t dating.
If that wasn’t bad enough, young Japanese people are also, it seems, increasingly not interested in sex.
A survey by the Japan Family Planning Association found that 36 percent of males between 16 and 19 had “no interest” in sex.
If I recall my teenage years correctly, that just can’t be true. Unless the nuclear disaster fried more than a few fish and birds.
But there’s something to the “Herbivore” idea. Except for the odd yakuza, Japanese men don’t present as all that masculine, do they? The women (some of them) more than make up for it in presenting as feminine, but all their wiles aren’t going to work on a nation of Ryan Seacrests.
Anyway, don’t look for Japan to be a bulwark against China expansionism:
“Japan will be more likely to prioritize healthcare than international security,” Brad Glosserman and Tomoko Tsunada wrote in Foreign Policy Magazine. “Older societies are typically more risk-averse, and Japanese — ‘reluctant realists’ at the best of times — will be increasingly unwilling to put their most precious resource, their young, in harm’s way,” they said.
What an irony that the 21st century may play out between these countries as the 20th did, with roles reversed.