Japan may be dying, but they’re dying Japanese. (Original article hidden behind a paywall.) Excerpt, with my comments:
Japan is set to lose a midsize city, approximately the size of Austin Texas, every year according to a Financial Times report and stats from the IMF.
“The reason Japan’s population is now falling so fast is not the low birth rate but rather an increase in the number of deaths,” said Akihiko Matsutani, professor emeritus in applied economics at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
It’s true that Japan has an aging population. It’s been a matter of concern for some time that young Japanese people aren’t reproducing at anything like replacement rate.
The population decline is despite record immigration.
Here’s where they get it wrong.
There is very little immigration into Japan as we understand the word. They have a work-visa program, like most places; many gaijin come to Japan to work for a matter of weeks, months, even years. I’ve done so myself. But when your work is done, the gaijin are expected to go home. It’s very difficult to get permanent residency in Japan, and even more difficult to become a Japanese citizen, even if you’re married to a citizen. If you do manage to gain citizenship, you’re expected to assimilate even to the point of taking a Japanese name.
I don’t think Japan will descend into extinction, though. Their population may drop to the 100-year-ago level described, but I expect it will stabilize at some point.
I hope so, anyway. It’s hard for me to explain exactly why I’m so fond of Japan, given that it’s far too authoritarian to suit my minarchist sensibilities, but I do love the place. I love the people, the culture, the food, the culture. I hope Japan survives whatever’s coming and, yes, I hope Japan stays Japanese.