Japan’s Earthquake and the Politics of Demography
So much for the over -population groupies.
Back in 2009, the leadership in Japan realised that there it was facing a massive demographic problem. This problem was not rampant population growth, but the opposite – declining fertility and a growing elderly population. According to The Washington Post:
“In 2009, just 13.3 percent of Japan’s population was 14 or younger — the lowest percentage ever registered by a country. By 2030, according to government estimates, one in every three people in Japan will be 65 or older. One in 10 will be 14 or younger.”
This problem was only going to get worse as time went on because of Japan’s birthrate of 1.37 children per woman – one of the lowest in the world and well below the replacement rate of around 2.1.
To combat this, the new ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, came up with ways to combat this:
“The plan was simple: Couples who procreated would get cash — a payment every month during a child’s first 15 years….At the time of the March 11 earthquake, the government was paying families roughly $155 every month, per child, until that child completed junior high school. This year, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) had been pushing for an increase in payments, with a view toward eventually doubling them.”