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7 Signs Japan Has Become a ‘Demographic Time Bomb’


Chris Weller suggests that there are more signs than one to indicate that social-security costs are going to apply more pressure on the next generation in Japan.

Chris Weller writes: Japan is dealing with what economists call a “demographic time bomb.”

Through a vicious cycle of low fertility and low consumer spending, the country’s economy has gradually shrunk over the last 25 years.

People are living longer, and they’re heaping greater social-security costs onto younger generations who aren’t having kids to replace them — thereby furthering the cycle.

Here are some of the most visible signs in daily life that the time bomb is ticking.

Adult diapers outsell baby diapers.


Ever since 2011, sales of adult diapers in Japan have outpaced those of baby diapers.

The trend reflects just how big the cohort of senior citizens is: People over 65 make up a larger demographic than any other in Japan. Of the 127.11 million people, about 26.7 per cent of them are seniors.

That proportion is up 3.7 percentage points from six years ago.


2016 marked a 117-year low for fertility.

Ever since 1899, the annual number of births in Japan had exceeded one million — until 2016.

When government officials conducted a tally of total births last year, they counted about 20,000 shy of the benchmark. The death count, meanwhile, fell at around 1.3 million.


The word ubasute is an old Japanese word that translates to “granny dumping,” and according to Japanese news sources, it’s making a comeback.

It describes the unfortunate practice of younger citizens bringing their senile elders to hospitals or charities and essentially abandoning them — generally because they can’t afford care anymore.

The trend still isn’t widespread yet: One social worker estimates the total number of cases is in the low hundreds each year. … (read more)

via South China Morning Post

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