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SHORT SHORT with English summary February 2006
Shrinking Japan    縮む日本

世界に前例はいくつもあります。 しかし、縮み続けて消滅した国々のほうが、生き延びた国々よりはるかに多いことも歴史上の事実です。 尤も、人口減少による消滅は稀で、多くの場合、自国文化の価値と独自性が希薄になり、一国として機能しなくなったのでしょう。


Shrinking Japan

We need not panic at the reducing tendency of our population.  There are many preceding examples in the world history. Many nations have melted away but very seldom happened because of its reducing number of population.  A nation, that disappeared from the world history must had lost her own culture, identity and lost the function as an organized nation.
Even if Japan might reduce its population to a half of today's, the number would be approximately as same as Japan in 1925, just the time when the Showa dynasty began. The population would be still larger than today's Italian. Today's Swedish population is only a little over 8 millions. By the way, in 1945, exactly after 20 years from 1925, many young Japanese lost their lives.  Once the "Total Fertility Rate" was considered to be tightly related to the pattern of the nation's culture therefore the tendency of the rate would keep and rather difficult to reverse. But it seems to reverse rather quickly.
So I don't worry about the reducing tendency of our population. I worry and am irritated by the attitude and the vision of our politicians, bureaucrats and journalists. The pregnancy and the delivery are hard tasks only done by the women. The women shall not be doomed inferior and being treated handicapped in our society because of these biologically fundamental function. The guaranteed reinstatement and well-established network of nursing homes and kindergartens are the basics for welfare and should not be utilized as the technical instruments, solutions against the reducing population.
The Japanese obligatory education system has been in high standard but today we should admit the system is not keeping the same standard anymore. The cost for the education is very high compared to the other countries. Good but expensive. It is getting very popular to go to the private schools since the public schools are considered lost its quality. Many of Japanese children spend many days and hours at the complementary schools called "Juku". This way of children's life are so common, it may be accepted as a new culture. And this culture wastes both children's and parents' life.
From the rate of increase to the rate of decrease, it is a drastic change of our population.
But can't we take it that a big chance has been opened for our future generation?
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