Is Japan tired of sex? Due to drastically falling birthrates, researchers predict that within the next 1,000 years Japan will be a nation with no children. This isn’t Children of Men, this is really happening. Not because of infertility or a disease, but because people just aren’t having sex.
Let’s look at a few facts before we jump to conclusions as to why Japan’s birthrate is shrinking. Japan’s youth population has been gradually shrinking in the past 20 years. It’s been shrinking so much, in fact, that schools have been closed due to a lack of children to teach. Also a factor is the growing elderly population. Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world by far. Currently, the average age of death is 86.39 but Japanese officials expect that number to rise to 90.93 by 2060. The growing number of senior citizens means that the amount of workers contributing to the economy will decline which in turn affects the amount of people who can pay for those on pensions.
To put Japan’s shrinking birthrate in perspective: there are 16.6 million children under the age of 14 in Japan, but that number shrinks by one every 100 seconds. In 50 years, Japan’s birthrate will fall to 1.35 children per woman, well below the replacement rate. Last year, adult diapers outsold diapers for babies. One in four unmarried men and women in their thirties have never had sex, and most young women prefer the single life. Over 60% of unmarried men and 50% of unmarried women were not dating, nor did they have any interest in dating. Most shockingly, 36% of males aged 16-19 had no interest in sex.
Why is this happening? Well, most obviously is the cost of living in Japan. It’s extremely expensive to have a child in Japan even though the state gives plenty of benefits to parents. With a little digging, it’s evident that the issue goes far deeper than money. One argument is the fact that Japan’s youth prefers virtual friendships and relationships to real ones. Japan’s virtual worlds are incredibly sophisticated and it’s smart phone apps are the most created. The country is so physically overcrowded; it’s easy to get lost in a fantasy where anything is possible.
However, the real impact on the sex drive in Japan appears to be linked to both celibacy ads and women’s rights issues. Celibacy has become the norm in Japanese youth due to promotions by celebrities. For example, 20-year-old pop star Minami Minegishi, shaved her head in shame for spending the night at her boyfriend’s apartment. Apparently her band, AKB48, had a strict no-dating policy and forced her to make a video apology to their fans. The video was aired on the evening news. Advertisements in Japan are also increasingly attempting to appeal to the “single life.” Disposable underwear is sold in individually wrapped packages. “Meals-for-one” and Internet cafés have encouraged people to stay single for the sake of affordability. On top of everything else, the Japanese youth seem to be happy with their sexless state.
As odd as this new trend appears to us, birthrates in developed countries worldwide have been dropping. Though Japan’s celibacy is far more pronounced and accelerated, the rest of the world is not far behind.
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