The section of my book America Alone on demographic decline begins with Japan – because Japan presents “the demographic death spiral in its purest form”. The Economist and a bunch of other smart guys all said at the time that it was “alarmist”.
Seven years later, everyone’s ringing alarm bells. From today’s Asahi Shimbun:
Japan’s population has dropped by a record 284,000.
As of Oct. 1, 2012, the country’s population was estimated at 127,515,000, down 0.22 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said April 16.
The decline is the largest in both number and rate since 1950, when comparable figures were first available.
The population dropped for the second year in a row for the first time.
Japanese society continues to age, with the population of elderly, aged 65 or over, estimated at 30,793,000, up 1,041,000 from the previous year. It was also the first time that the elderly outnumbered children, aged 14 or under, in all 47 prefectures.
The central fact of our age is the unprecedented, voluntary self-extinction of the developed world.