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Japan is Going Away
According to the World Bank Group, the country’s population declined by -0.2% in 2017 alone, while China and the US barely grew .60% and .70% respectively. Back in 2010, Japan had 1.3 million more people than today.
The Japan Times said an increasing number of abandoned properties are being listed on online databases known as “akiya banks”—“akiya” translating to “vacant house” -- with tens of thousands of homes being offered at a massive discount. Prices on one particular database range from 30 million yen ($266,800), while many other properties are listed under “gratis transfer” for the sum of literally zero yen.
This is all part of a government scheme to counter the country’s unprecedented housing crisis.
A 2013 government report revealed that more than eight million abandoned homes were spread across Japan, with many of them located in rural regions. Nearly 25% have been deserted indefinitely, neither for sale nor rent.
In Tokyo, where 70% of the people live in apartments, about 10% of homes are dormant, a ratio higher than in cities like New York, London, and Paris.
And that figure is expected to surge in 2020, as deaths outpace births in a mature society where more than 25% of the population is 65 or order.
Nomura Research Institute forecasts the number of abandoned homes could grow to 21.7 million by 2033, or about 33% of all homes in Japan.
Meanwhile, the population peaked a decade ago, forecasted to plunge 30% by 2065, creating an even more profound crisis in the decades to come.
It’s worth noting that the worst behaviors by Vietnamese in Japan are regularly highlighted by the Vietnamese media, since this labor conduit is too lucrative to wreck. As for the Japanese, immigrant criminality is still a small price to pay in exchange for much needed workers. Increasingly withdrawn and celibate, Japanese don’t have nearly enough kids to replace its huge population of retirees, who simply live on and on. Immigrants, then, must be flown in to change their diapers, and turn them over to prevent bedsores.
Japanese media have run many stories highlighting the abuse of foreign employees. Weekly Playboy quotes a Vietnamese woman who was cheated of her worker’s compensation after being hurt at her shipping depot job. Though she had to go to the hospital, she wasn’t even allowed the rest of the day off. Commenting on this story, a Japanese salaryman tellingly relates:
In other word, Japan leads the world in replacing the actual with the virtual, so you have teens who won’t go outside, men screwing sex dolls and old people being comforted by creepy robots, but these arrangements aren’t too satisfying, apparently, for Japan is erasing itself at a frightful pace. In 2017, only 946,060 babies were born there, the lowest number since records began in 1899, so discounting immigrants, its population declined by nearly 400,000. That’s twice the number of people obliterated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki! At this rate, there will only be 500 Japanese left by 3000, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare.
What’s happening to Japan is relevant worldwide, for all the most advanced and accomplished populations are shrinking, while the most backward recklessly breed. If you think each child is a blank slate, with roughly equal potentials, then there’s no cause for alarm, but many among us are convinced a nation’s heritage is simply its biology, manifested, so the Cathedral in Siena, for example, is really a chart of the Italian DNA. Japan is one of humanity’s most spectacular yet nuanced achievements.
Judging by its history, Japan is eminently capable of reinventing itself, so with its tremendous human capital still largely intact, perhaps it won’t just save itself, but show us all what to do next.