Elon Musk tweet sparks debate in Japan on falling birthrate. the 11th straight year of decline

Tesla boss responds to data showing population fell by record 644,000 last year – the 11th straight year of decline.

Elon Musk has warned that Japan will “cease to exist” unless it addresses its falling birthrate, sparking calls for the country to allow more immigration and improve its work-life balance.

“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. This would be a great loss for the world,” the Tesla chief executive, who recently agreed a deal to buy Twitter for $44bn (£36bn), said in a post at the weekend.

Musk, who has previously voiced concern about global population collapse, was responding to government data showing that Japan’s population fell by a record 644,000 last year – the 11th consecutive year of decline.

Some social media users said Japan was not the only developed economy experiencing long-term population decline, but others used Musk’s tweet to criticise successive governments’ half-hearted attempts to raise the birthrate in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Japan’s population peaked in 2008 and had fallen to about 125 million by last year, despite government warnings about the effect on economic growth and occasional campaigns to encourage couples to have bigger families.

Some Japan experts took Musk to task over his tweet.

“What is even the point of tweeting this?” wrote Tobias Harris, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The anxieties surrounding Japan’s demographic future is not that ‘Japan will eventually cease to exist’ but rather the profound social dislocations that are occurring as a result of the decline to a lower population level.”

Others called on the Japanese government to further relax the country’s strict rules on immigration, although plans to admit up to half a million blue-collar workers by 2025 to address serious labour shortages have been frustrated by the coronavirus pandemic.

There were also calls to address the low birthrate, including making it easier for women to return to work after having children.

“They keep saying the birthrate’s falling, but given that the government isn’t taking thorough steps to deal with it, what can we say?” one Twitter user said. “Everything they say and do is contradictory.

“In this environment, who’s going to say ‘OK, let’s have a child’? I despair for Japan.”

Experts blame Japan’s low birthrate on several factors, including the high financial cost of bringing up children, the lack of childcare provision and notoriously long working hours.

The country’s population is also one of the world’s oldest, with a record high of almost 29% aged 65 and above, according to government data.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/ ... -birthrate

Elon Musk's grim Japan tweet puts spotlight on population bomb

Elon Musk has caused a stir by tweeting that Japan could "cease to exist" due to its demographic woes. © Reuters

TOKYO -- Tesla CEO and prolific tweeter Elon Musk has long highlighted the threat of declining birth rates, but over the weekend he singled out Japan with a warning that the country could one day "cease to exist."

Musk's motivation for making the remark remains unclear. But the tweet to his 90 million followers has shaken Japan's Twitterati and cast a fresh spotlight on the demographic woes that weigh on the nation's economic outlook.

"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," Musk wrote in response to another tweet citing a news article on Japan's declining population. That article reported the country's latest population estimates, after the largest drop on record last year.

"This would be a great loss for the world," Musk added.

As of 4 p.m. on Monday, Tokyo time, Musk's tweet had received about 100,000 likes. In addition, Japanese news outlets scurried to report on the grim warning from one of the world's most influential entrepreneurs.

The statistics in question were released in April by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. They showed that Japan's total population as of October 2021 was estimated to be about 125.5 million, down by 644,000, or 0.5%, from a year earlier -- the steepest decline since 1950, the first year for which the government has comparable data.

While the decrease was partly attributable to a reduction in foreign nationals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, natural population decline was the main culprit. Japan saw about 1.44 million deaths versus 831,000 births over the year through September.

The data also showed that residents aged 65 or older accounted for a record high 28.9% of the total last year, while those in the 15-64 age group made up 59.4%.

Multiple underlying factors are seen behind Japan's sluggish births. Late marriage and high education costs -- typical disincentives for starting a family in developed economies -- are among them.

Observers also point to gender inequality. Japan ranked 120th out of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index ranking in 2021. Low male participation in childcare and housework -- among the lowest in advanced economies, according to a government white paper on the declining birthrate -- mean women face a heavy burden.

The total fertility rate, the average number of children women will bear in their lifetimes, stood at 1.36 in 2019 and has been hovering around 1.4 in recent years. But the falling number of women of childbearing age means total new births are dropping rapidly.

And the coronavirus pandemic appears to have accelerated the trend, with many couples delaying marriage and childbirth in light of restrictions on normal life and uncertainty about the future.

Against this backdrop, Japan's government is taking some action. This April, for example, a revised law took effect, making it easier for fathers to take paternity leave.

These demographic pressures are not confined to Japan. Many Asian economies face reduced birth rates as their populations gray. For example, fertility rates in South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore -- 0.92, 1.05 and 1.14, respectively, in 2019 -- are even lower than Japan's, prompting policymakers to roll out countermeasures.

Tesla's Musk, who recently struck a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, has frequently raised the population problem over the past few years. "Birth rate collapse is the biggest threat to human civilization," he said in another tweet last September.

As far as his business endeavors are concerned, Musk has shown a strategy of sniffing out a civilizational crisis and presenting solutions to the problem.

In preparation for aging and declining populations, Tesla is developing a humanoid robot called Optimus that can perform chores in place of humans. The electric vehicle maker is focusing on hiring talent in the field of artificial intelligence, aiming to complete a humanoid robot prototype in 2023.

Optimus would ultimately be "worth more than" Tesla's car business, Musk stressed during the company's quarterly earnings call last month.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Elon-Mu ... ation-bomb

The good news is Elon Musk is turning Twitter headquarters into a homeless shelter. The bad news is, it can only house 280 characters, or less.

イーロン・マスクのツイートは、少子化について日本で議論を巻き起こしている。 11年連続の減少







「これをツイートする意味すら何ですか?」 Center forAmericanProgressのシニアフェローであるTobiasHarrisは書いています。 「日本の人口動態の将来を取り巻く不安は、「日本はやがて存在しなくなる」ということではなく、人口レベルの低下の結果として発生している深刻な社会的混乱です。」



「彼らは少子化を言い続けていますが、政府がそれに対処するための徹底的な措置を講じていないことを考えると、私たちは何を言うことができますか?」あるTwitterユーザーは言った。 「彼らが言うことやすることはすべて矛盾しています。





イーロン・マスクは、日本が人口動態の問題のために「存在しなくなる」可能性があるとツイートすることで騒ぎを引き起こしました。 ©ロイター















最近Twitterを購入するために440億ドルの契約を結んだテスラのマスクは、過去数年にわたって人口問題を頻繁に提起してきました。 「出生率の崩壊は人類の文明にとって最大の脅威です」と彼は昨年9月の別のツイートで述べた。



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