Japan's birth rate sank to another record low in 2022, marking a long and steady decline which also saw a record number of post-war deaths in the country.
The country saw 799,728 births in 2022, according to CNN, the fewest on record and the first time the number has dropped below 800,000. Combined with the record 1.58 million deaths, the country's population replacement rate is in trouble despite the country allowing in more immigrants than it is colloquially considered to.
From 2000 to 2010, Japan's migrant population increased by about 500,000. However, Pew Research reported that the country's 2015 immigrant population was under 2%. Despite this, a 2018 poll showed that 71% of Japanese respondents preferred immigration numbers to either stay "about the same" or for the country to welcome fewer, at a rate of 58% and 13% respectively.
The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, reportedly stated in early 2023 that Japan is “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions.”
“In thinking of the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation’s economy and society, we place child-rearing support as our most important policy,” said Kishida.
Japan “simply cannot wait any longer," he added.
According to projections by macrotrend.net, Japan's birth rate is set to continue to decline through 2028, before slightly increasing in 2029. It is expected to increase incrementally each year until 2043 before declining back down to current numbers in the years following. The same projections, overall, predict a stagnant Japanese population for the next 50 years.
This continuously unsolved issue is plaguing the most populous countries in the region (if not the world), with South Korea also breaking its record for the lowest fertility rates in its history. Korean women are having an average of 0.79 children, which is well below the obvious necessity of at least two children per couple to replace a native population.
Japan's rate is 1.3 while the United States is 1.6.
China's population is also slowly dropping and will likely eventually concede its irregular title of most populous nation after its first population decrease since the 1960s in 2022.
One example of a hopeful population-reversing policy came when Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, announced that women who birth four or more children will not have to pay income tax ever again.
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