Japan is facing critical population-related problems. Most notably, it has an aging population due to a declining birth rate. As a result, people in the country are growing increasingly concerned about the future of Japan, the stability of its social insurance programs and, believe it or not, whether or not the Japanese race itself will be around in a couple hundred years. Despite those concerns, there is some pushback against the immigration programs that the government is introducing in an effort to increase the size of the labor force, and people feel they have stronger reasons not to have more children. How do these podcasters see these issues affecting their own daily lives in Japan, listen to find out now!
- Chit-chat about the quality of McDonald’s food in Japan versus overseas, and also the very polite service of the Japanese staff
- The Sapporo Beer Festival has begun, and it’s interesting to see the large number of families and older couples enjoying the festival
- The Japan government is encouraging companies to hire employees until age 70 due to the labor crunch
- After retiring, many employees work part time at the same company to help supplement their pension income, or to just stay active
- Japan’s population has been decreasing for several years, so the government is taking measures to encourage more foreign workers to come to Japan
- As the requirements for permanent residency continue to loosen, certain people are obtaining it after living in Japan for only five years, whereas in the past, it was only being approved for people who had been living in Japan for 10 years
- Individuals designated as “highly-skilled foreign professionals" are able to obtain permanent residency on a fast track of one year
- The number of immigrants in Japan has been increasing for the past six years, with an increase of 167,000 people in the last year, for a total 2.2 million people, or approximately 2% of the total population (For comparison, immigrants in the US make up 14.4% of the population.)
- Although residents in Japan are required to pay into the national pension system, it is possible to get exemptions or reduce your contribution amount based on your living situation (low income, students, etc.)
- As some people believe they will not be able to receive pension distributions when they retire, they are not willing to make contributions. However, the pension system promotes the point of view that pension contributions are meant to support current retirees, not your own future.
- Burke unsuccessfully tries to compare the decreasing population problem in Japan to the problem of climate change
- Ben explains that population issues are a no-win situation: the decreasing population problem is creating issues for society, but over-population with the world’s limited resources is also a problem
- The conservative mentality of not wanting to dilute the Japanese race and culture may be contributing to the decreasing population problem, and there are concerns that foreigners cannot understand the “Japanese mentality” that is necessary in the workforce
- While Japan has been utilizing immigrant work programs, especially with southeast Asian countries, many of the workers will disappear into society and overstay their visas, and others might be subject to abuse in their jobs or a dangerous work environment