Everybody knows that Japan is ground zero for global ageing. The youngest of the developed countries as recently as the mid-1970s, it is now the oldest – and its age wave will continue to roll in for decades to come.
By 2050, the proportion of Japanese who are 65 or older is on track to reach 39 per cent, up from 23 per cent in 2010 and only 9 per cent in 1980, when Japan Inc seemed poised to conquer the global economy. Japan’s total population, which is already contracting, will enter a precipitous decline, shrinking by over a half by the end of the century. Extending this dismal forecast even further into the future, the Japanese Government projects, half seriously, the date when there will be only one Japanese citizen left living.