Population Institute Canada (PIC) is the voice of Canadians concerned with global overpopulation and its negative human and environmental consequences.

Despite Demographic Decline, the Sky Isn’t Falling in Japan

An economist’s refreshing perspective on the typically anxiety-inducing issue of Japan’s falling population  and the detrimental effects often predicted for its economy as a result.

(May 25, 2016, OTTAWA, ON.) In a departure from the usual fears and admonitions on Japan’s falling population, the co-director of the Australia-Japan Research Centre, Shiro Armstrong, suggests it would be more practical for Japan’s government to accept that its economy is going to contract given present demographic trends, and to shift its focus on maintaining living standards and increasing per capita incomes. This is a philosophy Population Institute Canada would fully endorse.

“What does negative GDP growth…mean when the population is shrinking?” he asks.

“Perhaps not as much as we thought. If GDP does not grow, per capita incomes may rise as the population falls. And Japanese have saved and invested overseas so they hold assets abroad that return income. Gross national income may differ considerably from gross national product…”

Japan today is a model of the challenges that await many developed countries.Thus it’s important to note Mr. Armstrong’s observation that despite a contracting economy, the Japanese people “remain rich, live very long lives…and Japan is safe, clean, comfortable and modern. There is no sense of crisis among the Japanese people and no feeling of urgency driving drastic changes.”

Ballooning human population (an additional 80 million people annually) coupled with over consumption are major contributors to the increasing environmental stresses of our planet. They diminish quality of life globally while engendering political instability and national security concerns. PIC believes it crucial that we shift away from the traditional prescription that prosperity and economic growth are primarily tied to population growth — a model that is unsustainable on a planet with finite resources.

This article offers a sober, welcome — too rare — perspective in economic thinking in this regard.

Contact: Madeline Weld, PhD
President, Population Institute Canada
Tel: (613)-833-3668
Email: mail@populationinstitutecanada.ca

PIC is the voice of Canadians concerned with overpopulation and its negative human and environmental impact. Founded in 1992, it campaigns to increase support for reproductive health and education and for universal, voluntary access to family planning, which the UN notes “…could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology available to the human race.”

Fact: Continued global population growth, together with overconsumption, is incompatible with a healthy, sustainable future for humanity and our planet.
Patrons: Sir David Attenborough; Robert Bateman; Margaret Catley-Carlson; Drs. Paul & Anne Ehrlich; Robert Fowler; Dr. William Rees; Dr. David Schindler; Ronald Wright. See patron bios.


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