No babies, no future
Maybe we need a "Davos" to talk about birth rates. Let me suggest that you invite Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as the featured speaker. He has a lot to say about the future, and it's not about climate change. This is the story:
In a policy address to lawmakers, Fumio Kishida said it was a case of solving the issue "now or never," and that it "simply cannot wait any longer."
"In thinking of the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation's economy and society, we place child-rearing support as our most important policy," the prime minister said.
Kishida added that he wants the government to double its spending on child-related programs, and that a new government agency would be set up in April to focus on the issue.
Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with the Ministry of Health predicting it will record fewer than 800,000 births in 2022 for the first time since records began in 1899.
The country also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world; in 2020, nearly one in 1,500 people in Japan were age 100 or older, according to government data.
These trends have driven a growing demographic crisis, with a rapidly aging society, a shrinking workforce and not enough young people to fill the gaps in the stagnating economy.
Well said, Mr. Prime Minister. Japan's birth rate is 1.3, way below the 2.1 number to maintain a population.
How do you turn this around? That's the challenge, because we've grown accustomed to not having babies around. Today, more and more young women are passing up on motherhood. It's not only Japan. South Korea has a similar problem. Europe has been struggling with this issue for some time.
What does it all mean? The old get older, the young are fewer, and there may not be enough of them to defend your society against a foreign enemy. Also, you may have to bring people from other countries to do the work and pay the taxes. Of course, those new arrivals may not have the same cultural values, and your country may not look the same in a generation. Just ask the French about that!
The elites love to talk about climate change and how the end is near. The real threat is declining populations and societies disappearing for lack of people.
PS: Check out my blog for posts, podcasts, and videos.
Image: Jernej Furman.