Hundreds of Japanese towns at ‘risk of disappearing’ due to plunge in women of child-bearing age: study

Hundreds of Japanese towns at ‘risk of disappearing’ due to plunge in women of child-bearing age: study

More than 40 per cent of Japanese municipalities are likely to see the number of their young female residents drop by more than half in the 30 years through 2050 as the country’s population rapidly declines, a study by private-sector experts’ panel showed on Wednesday.

The panel on population strategy warned that 744 municipalities were deemed at “risk of disappearing” due to the likely sharp fall in the number of women in their 20s to 30s, regarded as the core generation responsible for bearing children.

The localities considered in danger are those where the local governments would struggle to operate due to a population decline.

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The latest projection marks an improvement from a similar study released in 2014 by the Japan Policy Council, which estimated that 896 municipalities, or 49.8 per cent of the overall number, would see their young female populations decline in 2040 by more than half from levels in 2010.

However, the panel pointed out that an increase in foreign residents led to the improvement and warned, “The trend of a falling birth rate has not changed at all.”

It urged local authorities in the 744 municipalities in question and the central government to take measures to enhance the birth rate and prevent the outflow of people.

The latest projection was based on an estimate of population by region released by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in December.

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