Will Greens Applaud Japan’s Demographic Implosion?

Radical environmentalists, deep ecologists, and other assorted “greens” yearn for there to be far fewer people in the world “to save the planet.” Having been infected with anti-humanism, the Green Malthusians see us as “bacteria,” a “scourge,” crawling “maggots”–pick your denigration–a profoundly misanthropic view increasingly entering the environmental mainstream in recent years.

Achieving that goal will either require a profound genocidal tyranny, or a deeply nihilistic cultural implosion. China’s “one child” policy exemplifies the former–and the numbers of people there are still growing, albeit more slowly.

Japan, whose youth are apparently in the grip of a profound existential crisis, exemplifies the latter. From The World story:

The Japanese now have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, and at the same time, one of the highest longevity rates. As a result, the population is dropping rapidly, and becoming increasingly weighted toward older people. After peaking seven years ago, at 128 million, Japan’s population has been falling — and is on a path to decline by about a million people a year.

By 2060, the government estimates, there will be just 87 million people in Japan; nearly half of them will be over 65. Without a dramatic change in either the birthrate or its restrictive immigration policies, Japan simply won’t have enough workers to support its retirees, and will enter a demographic death spiral.

Here is the point I am trying to get across in this post: “Demographic death spiral” precisely describes the future that the Green Malthusians want for the entire world.

Why Japan? Apparently the new generation is depressed and/or reluctant to settle down:

There clearly is a subset of Japanese youth who have withdrawn from dating. Instead, they focus on online porn and games like Nintendo’s Love Plus, in which players conduct a relationship with an anime girlfriend.

Hundreds of thousands of young men are known as hikikomori, shut-ins who eschew human contact and spend their days playing video games and reading comics in their parents’ homes. (See below.) But most Japanese young people do have friends and relationships — they’re just not settling down.

There are economic causes too:

Left to their own devices, Japanese men aren’t sure how to find wives — and many are shying away from the hunt, because they simply can’t afford it. Wages have stagnated since the 1990s, while housing prices have shot up. A young Japanese man has good reason to believe that his standard of living would drop immensely if he had to house and support a wife and children — especially considering that his wife likely wouldn’t be working.

In Japan, marriage usually ends a woman’s working career, even though most women are well educated. Once they have a child, women face strong social pressure to quit their jobs and assume very traditional roles, serving both the husband and the child. Mothers who want to keep working are stigmatized and usually find that employers won’t hire them.

Japan’s existential crisis isn’t about environmentalism. But we should look at the serious demographic problems afficting that society as a reason not to follow the ongoing green “War on Humans.”

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More