Recent newspaper reports suggest declining population of Japan. In fact, the reports indicating the lower birth rates and declining population has been in the air for a while, but for the first time, there was an official declaration from the Japanese census bureau that Japan’s population has reached a 95 year low. This is simply alarming to an industrial nation like Japan.
I do not intend to plunge deeper into the causes of population decline in Japan. There may be multiple reasons why the population is going down ranging from low birth rates attributed to reduced interest of people to lead married life, the decision of couples living without children, loss of interest in family affairs, increasing living cost to afford and accommodate children, availability of alternative gratification means in the market etc. The list can go longer citing social, economic, biological and anthropological reasons.
Whatever be the cause, Japan has lost almost one million of its people. This has been the sharpest decline recorded since the last 95 years. Japan’s official census started in the 1920s and the census bureau says the loss of one million happened during the 2010 – 2015 period. Hot discussions are going on bulletin boards why Japanese population is declining and why young Japanese people do not have the interest in the institution of the family. Some even go to the extent of discussing declining interest in real life sex in the country and increasing choice for sex-dolls.
Economists fear that the decline in population spells trouble for the world’s most indebted economy. While the declining population helps the migrants from other countries to find jobs in Japan, it affects badly to the domestic consumption and growth. If goes unchecked, United Nations warns that Japan will lose 83 million more people by 2100 with more than 35 percent people aged more than 65 years.
I was reading the Shinto mythology recently and came across an interesting piece of the challenge made between the God Izanagi and Goddess Izanami. They were the first couple descended from heaven to create Japan and the rest of the world. After the death of Izanami and her subsequent transition to the world of dead called Yomi, Izanagi tried to bring his wife back to the life but failed. (Read the whole story of Izanagi and Izanami here). At the end of their argument and challenge, Izanami told she will take 1000 lives every day. For this, Izanagi gave a fitting reply that he will give birth to 1500 lives every day. This was the reason for population increase in Japan and the rest of the world.
Izanami is not taking more life from Japan. The aging population is increasing, but the younger population is decreasing indicating lower birth rates. The reason is clear. Izanagi needs to keep up his challenge!