JAPAN - Alarming Birth Rate Decline for 2016

Arno Froese

The number of babies born in Japan fell below 1 million in 2016 for the first time since records began in the 19th century, underscoring the demographic challenges facing the nation with an aging and declining population.

The declining birth rate and aging population combine to reduce the nation’s possible labor force and pushes up welfare costs. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is aiming to lift the birth rate per woman to 1.8 in a bid to ease the shrinking population, from the 2016 level of 1.44.

“The report demonstrates afresh that Japan’s demographic problems are extremely serious,” said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. in Tokyo. “There’s a high chance that the population declines will continue in a sustained manner. Japan needs to seriously deal with social security and fiscal issues and find a way to improve the nation’s growth rate.”

-www.bloomberg.com, 2 June 2017

Arno's commentary

Japan belongs to the group of nations considered super-rich. Life expectancy in Japan stands at 85 years. According to the CIA Factbook, the country is 100% developed, with 0% underdeveloped. Infant mortality stands at 2 per 100,000 births (US is 5.8 per 100,000 births).

One would think that the luxury-loving Japanese have it made, but as this abbreviated article shows, a danger is lurking around the corner; not enough newborns. This, incidentally, is also vividly expressed in numbers in other industrialized nations, particularly in Europe.

Another negative aspect for Japan is the intolerance of foreigners; in plain words, very limited immigration and admittance of refugees.

The CIA reports that in 2004, more than 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s. Many have returned to Brazil. Under religion, it says Shintoism 79.2%, Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.5% (Note: total adherents exceed 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism).

In view of this dangerous tendency, we can state: blessed is the country which accepts immigrants and refugees. That is one thing Japan does extremely reluctantly.

What is Japan’s future? The same as all other nations in the world. They all, more or less, are worshipers of merchandise, but the end will be as recorded in Revelation 18:11: “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more.” The next two verses list 28 commodities, including “slaves and souls of men.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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