According to the UN, Japan has a quarter of its total population (i.e., 25 %) of senior citizens above 65 years old. Also, the total population is going to decrease 10% by next decade. There is also a fear that if the shrinking continues at the same pace, there wont be any Japanese left by the first half of the next century. Japan has been isolated and it is one of the small number of countries with lowest immigration. As little as 10,000 people on average acquire new citizenship status in Japan every year which is very low when compared to any other developed country.
Due to its shrinking and aging population combined with its strict no-immigration policies, Japanese companies are slowly losing their advantage. Old companies like Sony, Panasonic and such, which used to dominate the market, now face heavy competition from new companies from abroad with younger employees. So, the main challenge before Japan is to make the country sustainable. The following are some of the solutions:
Japanese older workforces are now becoming more entrepreneurial after their retirement. Due to advanced health care and high standard of living, many older people tend to work longer, many of them open their own companies. To everyone’s surprise, Japanese people have longer life expectancy than any other nation in the world, despite their hard work and prolonged workmanship. According to a survey, more than 90% of Japanese over 65 years want to work even longer. The Government is taking steps to provide support to senior citizens in setting up their own companies in various fields. If Japan could capture the potential of aged workforce, it could create many new opportunities.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently announced that his government would work to give young women bigger number of leadership roles. By doing so, they can compensate the aging problem as empowered women could be the alternative workforce bridging gender gap. Also, many Japanese work too hard and live away from their families. Educating young Japanese couples to have a good work-life balance and spending quality time together, should help Japan’s shrinking population.