JAPAN (LifeSiteNews) — Following decades of decline, Japan’s birth rate has plummeted to an all-time low, leaving the nation in crisis as the number of deaths per year hits nearly double the number of births.
On Tuesday, February 28, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced that the nation’s birth rate dropped to an all-time low in 2022, dipping below 800,000 to 799,728 for the first time according to records that extend back to 1899. Meanwhile, the Ministry also announced that Japan’s death rate had jumped 9% higher than the previous year, nearly doubling the number of reported births in 2022.
“Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society,” the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, said back in January.
“Focusing attention on policies regarding children and child-rearing is an issue that cannot wait and cannot be postponed.”
Japan’s population crisis did not merely happen overnight. In 2007, the country’s birth rate, in decline for decades, was surpassed by the rate of death, and in 2019, Japan saw nearly one million more deaths than births in the country. Now, with the nation’s death rate at 12.5 per 1000 people, with 1,582,033 deaths in 2022 alone, the rate of dying in Japan has increased to nearly double the country’s birth rate.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, Japan’s falling birth rate could be driven by multiple factors, including economic worries such as the cost of raising children — Japan is currently the third most expensive country in which to raise a child, surpassed only by China and North Korea, whose populations are also suffering dramatically — the use of contraception, and the rising number of women in extended education and the work force.
Japan has attempted to curb its population decline in the past, with subsidies for childcare, pregnancy and childbirth. However, some have suggested that the policies in place favor those who already have children, rather than help those who need help getting married and have children.
READ: Japanese PM warns country it faces social collapse because of falling birth rate
With such unsustainable rates leaving many with questions regarding Japan’s future, various efforts are being made to reverse this alarming trend. One such effort comes from Tokyo, where, in a desperate bid to reverse the effects of declining birth rates in their country, the city announced on February 28 that it would begin providing funding to women who wish to freeze their eggs.
“We recognize that the falling birthrate is a critical situation,” said the deputy chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihiko Isozaki. “My understanding is that various factors are intricately intertwined, preventing individuals from realizing their hopes for marriage, childbirth and child-rearing.”
Tokyo’s hope is that by granting subsidies to a certain number of women a year to freeze their eggs, a practice strictly condemned by the teachings of the Catholic Church for its dismissal of the sanctity of human life, it will help ease the rapid birth decline. However, similar attempts by various other cities have failed to make an impact.
Concerned individuals on social media have also raised questions about what the current birth and death rates will mean for the future of Japan, with Tesla CEO and current owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, taking to Twitter to analyze the situation.
“Twice as many people died in Japan last year as were born,” Musk tweeted on March 1, alongside an article by CNN.
Twice as many people died in Japan last year as were born. Population freefall.
Rest of the world is trending to follow.https://t.co/JDHiFviua5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 2, 2023
“Population freefall,” he continued. “Rest of the world is trending to follow.”
Musk also previously warned about Japan’s birth rate crisis when he tweeted that if Japan did not change its ways, it would “eventually cease to exist.”
“At the risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birthrate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist,” the now CEO of Twitter stated in March 2022.
“This would be a great loss for the world,” he added.
At risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birth rate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. This would be a great loss for the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2022