He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010 

Understanding Japan: Wealth is the Best Contraceptive?

Snippets from this article:

Each year, the Durex condom people publish a survey that shows the Japanese have among the least active sex lives, a finding that tantalises economists and sociologists.

Yet what if Japan's demographics are more of a strength than a weakness? This contrarian idea is worth considering for two reasons. One, Japan is doing nothing about its population. Two, other rich nations will be in the same boat before long, making Japan a prototype.

''Wealth is the best contraceptive,'' says Nicholas Smith, director of equity research at MF Global in Tokyo, who has long studied the supposed correlation between procreation and economic growth. ''There is a well-known correlation between rising per capita gross domestic product and falling fertility.''
Immigration is a taboo issue in homogeneous Japan, leaving us to mull how it can fare with what it has, demographically speaking. The strategy seems to be morphing into Asia's Switzerland, proving that living standards needn't shrink with population...

Discrimination means Japan only taps half of its 126 million people. A lack of affordable daycare also is a disincentive for working women to have children. Unable to balance work and family, more are putting off motherhood. Corporate Japan will have to get over its collective sexism. As it does, women will play a bigger economic role.
Japan's demographic cushions aren't a cure-all. Without a rapid increase in worker productivity, the nation will find it harder to maintain its high living standards. The rise of China and India and competition from South Korea are direct threats to Japan's future.

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