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The Issue of Social Aging and Serious Population Decline in Japan
concentration of people in Tokyo
low birth rate
medical insurance system
prolongation of life span
renewal of local community
social security system
total fertility rate
The theme of this thesis is on the extremely important problems which confront Japan at present and are likely to influence greatly the destiny of the nation. And on the other hand, some leading developed countries cannot overlook or stay indifferent to the same problems, because they are aware that they are also destined to be distressed by the problems, namely “Social aging and Population decline” next to Japan, though the contents of their problems are in some respects different from those of Japan. Therefore, many countries are watching how Japan will solve the difficulties. In other words, Japan is the first country that is being urged to solve the unprecedented difficult problems. Recently, the Japanese government realized at last the importance of this problem, and in the second Abe Cabinet they prepared a post for the local creation minister. In addition, the government decided that the resurrection of local communities should be one of the cabinet’s most important policies, and that making the local communities come to life again is the very key to the “social aging and population decline” problem. In order to prove this, the government appointed Ishiba Sigeru, the former secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, as the minister in charge, and have shown a positive attitude toward this policy. But it is to be regretted that the minister has not yet taken any effective countermeasures against this problem. Judging from such situations, the writer believes this theme has great possibilities not only for Japan but also for many countries in the world to show some right directions of the effective solutions for this problem, but needless to say, the countries concerned must conquer so many difficulties. The big waves of the social aging and population decline problem in Japan mainly arises from a marked decline in birthrates, extension of life span, and extremely strict admission of immigrants. In 1950’s the average birthrate was 2.58, and in 1960’s and in 1970’s the birthrate went down to 2.0 and 1.98 respectively, with the result that the birthrates fell short of the minimum birthrate 2.1 which is essential to maintain the present population level. And in 2010, out of the total population of 126,500,000, the number of the aged (of 60 years and over) amounted to 38,600,000, and furthermore it is expected that in 2050 out of the 108,500,000 population, the aged will amount to 45,000,000. Taking the various present situations mentioned above into consideration, in order to raise the birthrate the writer made up his mind to analyze the processes and the causes of social aging and to put emphasis on searching for some effective countermeasures by which to recover the well-balanced local communities where everyone is lively everywhere, both the balance between the young and the old and the balance between males and females are ideally maintained. And furthermore, so as to analyze the chief backgrounds and causes of social aging, in the first paragraph of the third chapter, the causes of the marked decline in birthrate principally examined, in the second paragraph the backgrounds of the prolongation of averagelife span, in the third paragraph the reasons why Japan has been negative toward admission of immigrants, and in the fourth the merits and demerits of “Concentration of the population in Tokyo only” were analyzed. And also in the fourth chapter, out of many social security system problems, the writer took up only the reforms of annuity plans and medical insurance systems concisely, about which recently hot discussions are heard here and there among the Japanese people. Moreover, in the first paragraph of the sixth chapter, some concrete measures were suggested in order to realize the recovery of local communities, which is looked upon as one of the most effective methods for improving birthrates. Especially, there the writer showed some epoch-making methods to dissolve the “Concentration of people in Tokyo only” problem. To tell the truth, the theme of this thesis refers to too far and wide fields, and without mentioning the Japanese government, even the world-famous experts have not yet shown any decisive clues to these difficult problems, much less can do the inexpert writer in such a short time. Anyway, the writer has done his best to approach the very ideal Japan of the future.
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