Grandstands. The demographic situation in Japan is well known: since 2010, there has been a continuous and absolute decline in the population. This is now around 125 million (including 2 million foreign residents, or 1.6% of the total), against 128 million in 2010. According to government estimates, this decline will accelerate over the years. to come at a rate of about 1 million per year, to reach the figure of 70 million inhabitants in 2060 if current trends remain unchanged.

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In addition to a very restrictive migration policy, the main cause is the collapse of the birth rate. In the mid-1980s, the fertility rate (around 1.8) was still comparable to that of France; it has since fallen to 1.36 today. After a very short baby boom after the war, between 1947 and 1949, with a fertility rate of 4.5, it fell to 2 in 1957, then below 2 after the mid-1970s.

This development therefore took place in the midst of a period of strong growth (the Japanese “thirty glorious years”), but in the context of a rapid and profound transformation of the Japanese economy and society. Admittedly, anti-natalist policies emerge after the war, with the eugenic protection law of 1948, which, in the continuity of a previous law of 1940, sets a legal framework for sterilization and abortion, but it does not. there is nothing comparable with the one-child policy introduced thirty years later in People’s Republic of China. Above all, in the post-war context, the country’s overpopulation remains a classic theme and increasingly a reality for the Japanese, who are concentrated in large urban centers.

World records for longevity

It was not until the 1990s and the “Angel Plan” of 1994, then the “New Angel Plan” of 1999, to see the establishment of a somewhat ambitious family policy, with the increase in family allowances, tax advantages and extension of maternity leave. It was not until the 2010s and the ultra-conservative government of Shinzo Abe (2012-2020) that measures were taken to reconcile professional and family life, through so-called “Womenonmics” policies, including he objective was to promote, at the same time, professional equality between men and women and the birth rate. Some measures, such as paternity leave, have remained cosmetic, but the increase in solutions for childcare, such as the opening of new crèches, has marked a turning point in a country where motherhood rhymes with withdrawal from the labor market for several years and part-time thereafter.

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