Some news from Japan-
TOKYO - Japanese births rose for the first time in six years in 2006, according to government statistics announced Monday, offering a glimmer of hope for a rapidly aging society.Japan like Russia is facing a serious depopulation or demographics crisis in the future. Currently the country has a population of 127 Million. At the present birthrate, Japan will be down to 64 million in 2100. The country will not be able to sustain the economy it has with the present birthrate.
Japan's population of 127 million shrank in 2005 for the first time on record, mostly due to a steadily falling birth rate, raising the prospect of a severe labor shortage and difficulties in paying the health bills and pensions of large numbers of elderly.
But preliminary data for 2006 showed there were 1.086 million births in Japan last year, 23,000 more than the previous year, the Health Ministry said Monday.
Based on that data, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun calculated the birth rate for last year at 1.29 babies per women, up slightly from a record low of 1.26 in 2005. Despite the increase, the rate is still far below the 2.1 rate needed to keep the population steady.
The obvious solution would be for Japan to allow and encourage immigration to the country. There are some 200,000 non Japanese living in the country, but few gain citizenship. This current policy is likely to be foolhardy, Japan needs Gaijin as much or more as we Gaijin need Japan.
On a related note, Japanese Emperor Akihito celebrated the birth of Japan's first male heir in 40 years.
TOKYO - Japanese Emperor Akihito celebrated the September birth of his grandson — the imperial family's first male heir in four decades — in a New Year's poem issued to the public on Monday.TFM had been strongly hoping for a change in this Japanese policy also. Change comes slow in Japan. Will that attitude lead to the eventual ruin of the country?
Prince Hisahito's Sept. 6, 2006, birth to Princess Kiko, the wife of the emperor's second son Akishino, was hailed by royalists for defusing a looming succession crisis in one of the world's oldest imperial systems, which allows only male rulers.
"Rejoicing with us / on the birth of our grandson ... The voices of the people — I am happy hearing them," read the poem written by the 73-year-old emperor.
Emperor Akihito's sons, Akishino and Crown Prince Naruhito, had three daughters between them, but no sons until Hisahito became the first male heir born since 1965 to the imperial family.
An expert panel charged in 2005 with averting an imminent succession crisis recommended amending the law to allow women on the throne — a proposal backed enthusiastically by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who argued it would make successions more stable.
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