There is an op-ed in the NYTimes this Sunday talking about Japan’s population issues. It’s the familiar story about dropping population, a bad life history table (i.e., too many old people supported by too few young people), and women who don’t want to have children. This op-ed rather than blaming it on those selfish women who are decadent, blames it on economic stagnation. The suggestions in this article, increase day care & make it affordable, stop promoting based only seniority, and make it easy to come back to the workforce after having a baby are all reasonable.
What is not addressed in this op-ed is one of the things that makes Japan historically and even currently different from the US – immigration. Of all of the various bits of information I could find on the web, all indicate that Japan is one of least welcoming countries in the world. I think the current immigration policy in the US sucks (as nearly all of us in the US have immigrant blood), but its still better than many if not most places.
The Op-ed points out that even if the birthrate in Japan goes up today, there will still be a generational lag. One way to change this is to start letting more younger people into the country. I know its not that easy, but why is it never even considered or addressed?