japan society

The Struggle to Save Japan’s Ageing Society

Published on: April 13, 2023
Author(s): Mohamad H. Mokdad
Keyword(s): Japan
ISSN: 3036-9495

Japan has one of the fastest-declining fertility rates and one of the highest rates of ageing in the world. The Japanese government is trying to reduce this problem through social, economic, and demographic policies.

After the recent statement of the advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan, Masako Mori, that if the government does not intervene, Japan will disappear from existence, the government has taken several measures to address the issue. The ageing population in Japan is a major concern for the government as it faces an unprecedented demographic crisis.

Japan’s society, between an ageing population and social problems

The number of births has decreased from 1970 until today, with 1.3 children per woman, less than the “replacement level” rate. This global average is 2.1 children per woman. The problem in Japan is that the number of deaths for 2022, which is approximately two million and six hundred thousand, has reached twice the number of births, only eight hundred thousand.

This creates an urgent need for financing pensions for retirees and healthcare for the elderly, which could lead to the collapse of the social security system. Newborns will grow up in an unbalanced society that will gradually lose its ability to work and produce.

One of the main reasons behind the demographic crisis in Japan is the reluctance of Japanese men and women to get married and have children.

The National Institute for Population and Social Security revealed that one-fifth of men currently and 15% of women do not wish to marry for several reasons, including the decrease in the average annual family income from $50,000 in 1995 to $43,000 in 2020 and the low income of young males, which push them prefer living in the family home overbearing the burdens of marriage.

Among the most prominent reasons behind this phenomenon, there are the significant social, economic, and technological changes in Japan in recent decades, such as increasing job opportunities for women and changing the role of women in society, in addition to improving the standard of living and access to healthcare services, which led to a rise in the average age of the population.

In order to address this issue, the Japanese government has implemented several policies to encourage marriage and childbearing, such as improving maternity and paternity leave, reducing accommodation and education costs, encouraging women to work, and helping to balance work and personal life.

For instance, in Miyagi Prefecture in the northeast, the government used artificial intelligence to match potential partners for marriage. As for Tokyo, it provided lessons in the art of dating to address the reluctance of Japanese men and women to marry.

In addition, the government has implemented policies to support families with children, such as providing childcare services and subsidies, increasing tax benefits for families with children, and promoting a family-friendly work environment. However, some critics argue that these policies have not been enough to address the root causes of the demographic crisis and that more needs to be done.


The demographic crisis in Japan has far-reaching implications for the country’s economy and society. With an ageing population, Japan faces a decline in its workforce, which could harm its economic growth. Moreover, the increasing number of older people in Japan puts a strain on the healthcare system, which could lead to higher healthcare costs and a decline in the quality of care.

The demographic crisis also has social implications. As the number of older adults in Japan increases, there is a risk of social isolation and loneliness among them, which could hurt their mental and physical health.

This topic is of great interest to scientists and researchers in the fields of demography, sociology, and economics, who study the impact of this phenomenon on Japanese society and analyse the policies and measures that can be taken to solve this problem.

Marry Brinton, a sociologist at Harvard University, believes that the reason is due to the well-established Japanese culture on the basis that the man is a financial breadwinner, and the woman takes care of the home and family affairs.

Finally, we conclude with the words of the academic Masahiro Yamada at the University of Chu: “The government must double its spending on investing in building families instead of the elderly; otherwise, the birth shortage rate in Japan will fall into the abyss.”.

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