The Point

The Point: Japan Wants You

Japan wants more immigrants. In most Western and developed nations, there is a looming fertility crisis: Birth rates around the world, especially in wealthier countries, have dropped below-replacement levels. The economic and cultural consequences are potentially catastrophic. “Exhibit A” has been Japan, a nation in which thousands of schools have been closed because of lack of students, and where more diapers are sold for incontinent adults than for babies. The problem’s so bad that Japan recently did what until recently would have been unthinkable for them: It relaxed immigration laws. Now hundreds of thousands of foreign workers will be welcomed to do blue collar and service jobs. Given the Japanese emphasis on, well, “Japanese-ness,” this seemingly modest step acknowledges just how severe the nation’s demographic crisis truly is. It’s not only Japan. Some East Asian nations have even lower birth rates, as do several European nations. Even the U. S. is headed in Japan’s direction. When will we dispense with the myth of “overpopulation” and acknowledge the real problem: not enough babies?


John Stonestreet


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