Japan is turning itself into a real-time social experiment. A quarter of its population is aged above 65 and by the middle of the century, the figure will rise to 40 per cent. The total population is falling and there are labour shortages. Yet surveys show that a possible solution - immigration - is highly unpopular and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reform programme remains largely silent on the issue.

JAPAN is facing an unprecedented demographic challenge. The number of births fell to a record low of 1.03 million in 2013, according to the most recent government data.

In contrast, total deaths hit an all-time high of 1.3 mil...

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Dr. Stefan Lippert
The total population is now 126.4 million and if the birthrate does not rise, will fall below 100 million by 2048 and decline to 87 million by 2060 and 43 million by 2110
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