Japan’s future workforce to shrink as demographic problem deepens

The number of 20-year-olds in Japan hit a record low last year as the country’s future workforce dwindled and a generation brought up with tepid growth, low inflation and zero-interest-rate policies officially came of age.

This Latest government data The number of Japanese aged 20 on Jan. 1, 2022, fell by 40,000 from the previous year to about 1.2 million, the lowest level since the survey began in 1968.

The drop reflects Japan’s continued inability to reverse the decline in births. By 2020, the birth rate will be 1.34 children per woman of childbearing age, compared with only 840,000 babies born in Japan that year.

Population of Japan It had fallen to 126.6 million by the beginning of last year, a continuation of the steady decline since a peak of 128 million in 2008.

The decline in the 20-year-old has reduced the country’s “new adult” group to just 0.96% and casts a shadow over Monday’s “Adult Day”. The National Day is marked by ceremonies that welcome 20-year-olds to the joys and responsibilities of adulthood.

“I’m looking forward to the ceremony. . .[but]I’m not sure if I’m really too excited about being an adult,” said Rina, who rents a kimono in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. “There seem to be a lot of problems in Japan that can never be solved, and I guess they are my problems now. “

She added that with the legal age of majority (which allows people to buy mobile phones and apply for loans without parental consent) at 140 goes from 20 to 18.

Study of young Japanese attitudes towards work and business shows Japan is ruthless Population problems Cultivate a desire for stability above all else. Some 20-year-olds told the FT that their main goal was to join a company and avoid risk. Entrepreneurship, several said, represented a terrifying leap into uncharted territory.

For the same reason, support among young people for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is higher than for other generations. Junji Nakagawa, a professor at Chuo Gakuin University, said it reflected the view of 20-year-olds that the political landscape cannot change forever.

“They don’t think the economy will get better in the future because as far as they know, the economy has been growing at a very low rate. Students who want to become local civil servants have recently increased because they want stability,” Nakagawa said.

A 19-year-old schoolboy, who will be counted as an adult from April, said he voted for the Liberal Democratic Party candidate last October. “We do have a Covid-19 emergency, so how can I suddenly entrust my will to another party? I can’t trust anyone,” said the student, who asked not to be named. “So that’s why I want things to stay the same.”

market report Research Group Macromill It was revealed last week that 20-year-olds are less internationally aware and more domestically focused than their previous peers, a trend likely to be exacerbated by extended travel restrictions due to Covid-19.

Compared with the previous year, the survey showed a decrease in the number of people who want to work and study abroad, work with foreigners in Japan and learn foreign languages. Most notably, the percentage of people who want to “use English at work” fell by 10.6 percentage points to 38% from a peak in 2020.

First, the mood among Japan’s youngest adults is one of low-level despair, said Yuki Murohashi, a representative of the Japan Youth Congress, a lobbying group.

“They no longer have the feeling that Japan is going to rise because they haven’t experienced growth since they were born,” Murohashi said. “But they also don’t think it’s going to drop a lot. There aren’t a lot of expectations or disappointments.”

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