Magazine December 17, 2020, Issue

The Meaning of Japan’s Fertility Crisis

One of Japan’s ‘monster wolves’ (Toru Yamanaka/AFP via Getty Images)
A lack of children shows humanity in retreat

For economists, “Japanification” is living life in a low-growth economy. For three decades, Japan experienced 1 percent growth, and its national institutions justified all fiscal and monetary policy as emergency measures meant to achieve a revival. The result was low interest rates and massive monetary easing, but no inflation, and no growth.

We’ve gotten used to these policy measures since the crash of 2007 and 2008. And we had not climbed out of them before doubling down on them to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic stagnation is a real concern, but it is only part of the story of Japani­fication. The scale

This article appears as “Standing Athwart Japanification” in the December 17, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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