Japans Robot Nation
Japan Population Growth Rate Slows to Record Low

Japans Robot Nation
Japan Population Growth Rate Slows to Record Low

Japans population is shrinking drastically and it may face major issues within the next 100 years. One solution may be robots which are able to function as members of society –– Robocitizens.

Japan, the world's second largest economy, is facing a demographic crisis that will shrink the population dramatically. The Japanese aren't having babies, and the country won't accept immigrants to help bolster the population.

But Japan may have a unique solution –– Robots!

The aging of Japan outweighs all other nations with the highest proportion of elderly citizens, 21% over the age of 65. In 1989, only 11.6% of the population was 65 years or older, but projections were that 25.6% would be in that age category by 2030.

However, those estimates are updated at 23.1% (as of February 2011) are already 65 and over, and 11.4% are 75 and over, now the world's highest (though 2010 Census age results have not yet been released).

The change will have taken place in a shorter span of time than in any other country. The age 65 and above demographic group increased from 26.5 million in 2006 to 29.47 million in 2011, a 11.2% increase.

The Japanese Health Ministry estimates the nation's total population will decrease by 25% from 127.8 million in 2005 to 95.2 million by 2050.

Japan's elderly population, aged 65 or older, comprised 20% of the nation's population in June 2006, a percentage expected to increase to 40% by 2055.

This aging of the population was brought about by a combination of low fertility and high life expectancies (i.e., low mortality).

In 1993 the birth rate was estimated at 10.3 per 1,000 population, and the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime has been fewer than two since the late 1970s (the average number was estimated at 1.5 in 1993). Family planning was nearly universal, with condoms and legal abortions the main forms of birth control.

A number of factors contributed to the trend toward small families: high education, devotion to raising healthy children, late marriage, increased participation of women in the labor force, small living spaces, education about the problems of overpopulation, and the high costs of child education.

Life expectancies at birth, 76.4 years for males and 82.2 years for women in 1993, were the highest in the world. (The expected life span at the end of World War II, for both males and females, was 50 years.) The mortality rate in 1993 was estimated at 7.2 per 1,000 population.

The leading causes of death are cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease, a pattern common to postindustrial societies. Like other postindustrial countries, Japan faces the benefits as well as potential drawbacks associated with an aging population.

While countries with young populations may wrestle with problems of crime, poverty, and social unrest, countries with older populations often enjoy higher standards of living. However, the demographic shift in Japan's age profile has triggered concerns about the nation's economic future and the viability of its welfare state.

In 1989, only 11.6% of the population was 65 years or older, but by 2007, that figure had risen to 21.2%, making Japan one of the "greyest" countries on Earth.