Asia

Japan's aging population 11-17-18

Source - Economist, November 17, 2018: "Land of the rising bills"     

Statistics on Japan's aging population. The problems demography causes for Japan will be a preview of what the Western democracies can expect as their population ages. Increasing retirement ages and rethinking pension and medical benefits may be necessary to avoid running out of funds. Increased immigration to replace missing workers will also be needed.

Every year, Japan has 400,000 more deaths than births. This is exacerbating a worker shortage - the Japanese workforce syands at 67 million today but is expected to fall to 58 million by 2030. Increased immigration has not helped as immigrants only make up 2% of the Japanese workforce (compared to 17% in the United States). Overall, there are 1.6 jobs for every Japanese worker.

28% of the Japanese population is over 65, compared to 15% for the US and only 6% for India. Retirement programs, which begins at 60 in Japan, have placed a burden on the economy. Public debt is now 250% of GDP. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering mild reforms such as raising the retirement age to 65. Reforming the pension and medical system will be difficult and unpopular.