May 26, 2023
Vol. 24: FROM THE EDITOR
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research published revisions to its population projections for Japan on April 26 for the first time in six years. According to the latest estimates, Japan’s population will fall over the next 50 years from 124.91 million in 2022 to 87 million in 2070, a decrease of about 30%. This was largely unchanged from previous forecasts. However, the revised projections also included surprising predictions about births — specifically that births will drop to 450,000 by 2070, about half the current total. In 2022, the number of births fell below 800,000 for the first time since such statistics began to be recorded in 1899, and the institute projected they will hit 700,000 in 2038, five years earlier than previously expected.
Japan is needing to deal with declining birthrates and aging populations earlier than other developed countries, but the problems are particularly pronounced on the so-called remote islands (ritō). And so the economic activities, lifestyles and values that they follow might offer hints about how Japan could address some of its most pressing issues.