Miguel at their retirement age (Coulmas, 2007). For

Miguel CoronaDr. StrauezPolitics of Japan11/13/2017Japan’s
declining populationIntroductionThe
population of a given country is the whole number of inhabitants that live in
that country. Many nations face significant changes in their demographics. There
are general factors that influence population changes in a particular state.

Some of the factors causing demographic changes include birth rates, death
rates, immigration. According to the latest statistics of 1st October 2015,
Japan’s population was 127, 094,745 down from 128,057,352 (Goldfarb, 2014). The
population makes Japan the tenth-most populous country in the world. This
number has declined by 0.8% from the last recorded historical decline of 1945
(Rosenbaum, 2015). In this essay, I will argue that there are numerous reasons currently
causing the rapid decline of Japan’s population ranging from economic to
natural factors, with the most impactful factor being irregular work. Research QuestionThe
research will attempt to answer why there is a decline in Japan’s population
and its birth rates. The research will seek this answer through analyzing the
issue of irregular work, labor shortages and how the entry of women in the
workforce has influenced birth rates. The research will also look in to how
immigration might be a solution for the declining Japanese birth rate. Finally,
the study will look into other problems caused by the declining Japanese population.  Research outline and findingsCauses
of the Japan declining population and low birthsLike
many other European countries Japan’s population and birth rates increased
significantly after the World War II. Most of the children who were born during
the ‘Baby Boomers,’ immediately after the WWII are now at their retirement age
(Coulmas, 2007). For a long time, there have been great improvements in the
healthcare which has helped in the formulation of favourable conditions for people
to have longer life spans. However, there has been a drop in the birth rate,
causing an increasing stagnation of Japan’s population. According to the UN
World Population Prospects of 2015, Japan’s population steadily increased from
82 million in 1950 to 127 million in 2015. According to the forecast, the
population will decline to 107 million people by the year 2050 as shown in the
forecasted figures below (Rosenbaum, 2015).

Year

Population

1950

82 million

2015

127 million

2030

120 million

2050

107 million

 The forecasted figures
show that if corrective measures are not made to combat causes of population
decline, there will be a continuous decline in population.Impacts
of irregular work on Japan populationAccording
to the research done by Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, it was
projected that by October 2014 more than 19.62 million Japanese people would
have irregular jobs (Coulmas, 2007). Most companies prefer using irregular
employees to meet the ever-changing work dynamics. According to many employers,
the decision to engage workers under irregular basis is to search for the best
individuals to suit the market sector. The research also found that employers
are turning to use more irregular workers because they are easy to hire and
fire. As a result, many people have become hardship prone and it has become
harder for them to stabilize their employment. However, the research also
showed that some workers preferred the occasional work because they can decide
on their own the type of work program they can take (Coulmas, 2007). The
irregular working program has resulted in inequality of payment between the
full-time employed and the casual workers. Causes of the Japan’s
declining populationThere
has been an increase in the number of unmarried individuals’ due to economic
challenges. Most of the Japanese of between 20 and 40 years are highly hesitant
to get married because of the fear of economic uncertainties. Over a long
period, many countries have been faced with economic crisis leaving people
undecided on the next move of settling down on marriage (Rosenbaum, 2015). Many
of the young people in Japan are therefore not ready to start having family
responsibilities which may bring more economic strain.The
study also found out that late marriage caused by social advancement of women
in the society has contributed to the declining population (Goldfarb,
2014).  Due to the continuous efforts of
economy players to increase women participation in economic duties in the country
many ladies are delaying to get married to have more time of improving their
careers for competing with their male counterparts. As a result, many women
delay in giving birth thus reducing the population.The
third research finding was that there is an increase in the number of women
giving birth above the average age as a result of late marriage (Dalton, 2017
p. 96). The primary influencing factor causing most women to prefer giving
birth later in the middle age is their priority in economic stability before
engaging in family matters.The
research also pointed to birth–unfriendly social environment as a cause in the
reduction of the birth rate. Most Japanese people tend to prioritize career
development to childbearing leading to the decrease in birth rates in the
country. As a result, many people have started perceiving pregnancy as
immorality and a factor that reduces a woman’s attractiveness.  Finally,
finally we can see that most women prefer having fewer children or no children
at all. The reason why most women prefer to have less or no children is due to the
Japanese working culture, as well as expensive schooling, career development
priority, and importance of work promotions. Low child rate per woman is shown
in the graph below (World Bank).   How
labor shortages and women in workforce influences birth ratesThe
study found out that there are fewer opportunities for women to get employed in
formal jobs. The long working hours that women found themselves in limits them
time for caring for their children. Because of the limited opportunities of the
women in getting employed in corporate works they become restricted in
improving their social space in the society leading to them engaging in
continuous advancement of their career (Chanlett, 2014). Women
entry in Japan workforce has a significant impact on the country’s birth rates.

Historically in Japan, it has been known that men are the breadwinners of the
family, a factor that has been making many families vulnerable due to the low
employment opportunities in formal employment. In families that both the wife
and the husband are employed, in case of childbirth, more than 70% of the wives
leave their jobs to start childcare (Chanlett, 2014). Due to this factor, women
who are employed prefer not getting children or give birth to less than two
children to concentrate on building their career.How
Japan immigration will solve the declining birth ratesDespite
the integration of Japan with the world economy, there has been a homogenous
population for a long period (Dalton, 2017 p. 97). It is therefore important
that the immigration department should endeavor to improve the country’s
demographic characteristics by allowing immigrants from all over the world to
get access to the country easily. Benefits of a heterogeneous population are so
numerous. As a result, new dimensions of performing various tasks are
incorporated into the native populations thus improving their general life.

There are new changes that immigrants can bring to a country. For instance, the
fact that Japan has been experiencing a continuous decline in population and
birth rates may significantly gain from new dynamics into the social life. Japan’s
immigration policies have for a long time failed to address the issue of
immigrants who wish to school, work or live in Japan. A better immigration
policy will help in decreasing the continuous declining Japanese population.

The benefits that are associated with having a diverse economy comprising
people from all races are far-fetched. An immigration policy is needed in
Japan, this would raise the sustainability in various family aspects such as
birth rates. (Bloom, 2011 p. 22). By allowing immigrants, the country will have
essential labor personnel who help in increasing better relationships among the
Japanese people. The Japanese people have for a long period been experiencing a
decline in the value of having families. The immigrants will thus help in
improving intermarriages between the Japanese people and the foreigners. The
result is increased childbirths. The immigrants will also introduce new
ideologies relating to marriage and childbearing. Most
of the Japanese women who prefer career development than marriage will be
influenced by the changed ideologies from the immigrants (Coulmas, 2007).

Consequently, there will be an increased balance between family life and
employment matters. Most of the young people who will interact with the people
from other countries in the world will learn more about new cultures and the
general meaning of having a family. Impacts
of the declining Japan populationThe
declining Japanese population has led to large impacts on its economy. Many
sectors face being in operational or underperforming (Bloom, 2011 p. 22). For
instance, the reduced birth rates have led to a decrease of energetic people
who are responsible for engaging in activities that help in running the
economy. The reduced birth rates have resulted in demographic imbalance giving rise
to high numbers of the elderly than young and energetic people.  An example of this imbalance can be seen in
the farming community, according to the 2016 estimates, there is a high level
of elderly people in Japan as shown below (Maclachlan, 2016 p. 450)

Age

%

Male

Female

0-14

12.97

8,472,869

7,963,782

15-24

9.67

6,436,935

5,813,222

25-54

37.68

23,593,194

24,145,406

55-64

12.4

7,867,611

7,840,141

65 and over

27.28

15,080,738

19,488,235

 From
the figures, we can see that people ranging from 15-24 and 0-14 years are much
less those of 65 years and above. This implies that the future Japan economy
will be greatly affected by massive lack of workforce necessary in building the
nation.The
low birth rate translates to a low number of energetic people to work in
agricultural production. The research found out that there has been a reduction
in the number of labors in the agricultural fields translating to a reduction
in food production (Maclachlan, 2016 p. 443). There has also been a reduction
in the total number of farming households from the year 1965 to 2005. The table
below summarizes the impacts that reduced population has had in the
agricultural sector (Itabashi, 2009, p. 446).

 

1965

1975

1985

1995

2005

Area of cultivated land (million ha)

6.00
 

5.57
 

5.38
 

5.04
 

4.69
 

Total number of farming households (million)

5.66
 

4.95
 

4.23
 

3.44
 

2.85
 

Agricultural working population (million)

11.51
 

7.91
 

5.43

4.14

3.35

Core agricultural workers

8.94

4.89

3.46

2.56

2.24

 The
research proposes that the Japanese Government should establish an immigration
policy that will allow for an increased number of immigrants. These immigrants in
turn can help by working in fields that the younger people tend to want to stay
away from. Such as farm work which in turn can help in building the economy. ConclusionThe
research has pointed out that there are various reasons why the Japanese
population is declining and the reduced birth rates. The drop in population is
largely related to the reduced desire of the young people of getting married.

The Japanese people prefer building their career first before starting to
engage in family matters. Women also prefer giving birth to less than two
children or none at all. Research has also indicated that the declining
population has negative impacts on the economy. A reduction in birth rates
translates to a low number of young and energetic people who are responsible
for engaging in all daily aspects of life in Japan, whom without the country
would cease to exist.                 Works
CitedAvery,
Emma, and Rebecca M. Nelson. “” Womenomics” in Japan: In
Brief.” Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia
23.4 (2014): 411.Bloom,
David E., et al. “Population aging: facts, challenges, and
responses.” Benefits and compensation International 41.1 (2011):
22.Coulmas,
Florian. Population decline and ageing in Japan-the social consequences.

Routledge, 2007.Dalton,
Emma. “Womenomics, ‘Equality ‘and Abe’s Neo-liberal Strategy to Make
Japanese Women Shine.” Social Science Japan Journal 20.1 (2017):
95-105.Goldfarb,
Kathryn. “Anne Allison’s Precarious Japan.” Somatosphere
(2014).Itabashi,
Kazuo, et al. “Mortality rates for extremely low birth weight infants born
in Japan in 2005.” Paediatrics 123.2 (2009): 445-450.Maclachlan,
Patricia L., and Kay Shimizu. “Japanese Farmers in Flux.” Asian
Survey 56.3 (2016): 442-465.

Rosenbaum,
Roman. “Precarious Japan, by Anne Allison: Duke University Press, Durham
and London, 2013, 248 pp.” Japan Forum. Vol. 27. No. 3. Routledge,
2015.

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