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Japan and China: Exchanging Social Knowledge for People February 8, 2007

Posted by David in North-East Asia.
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In 2006 Japan’s population peaked at 127.7 million (The International Herald Tribune 08-02-2007) “and is expected to plummet to about 100 million in 2050”. By that time, “fully one-third of the population is projected to be 65 years old or more.” Needless to say, Japan has a lot of serious thinking to do, and I refer to the dreaded ‘I’ word. Immigration.

“A United Nations projection that assumes Japan would want to maintain its recent population peak of 127.5 million shows that this could be achieved with an average net increase of 381,000 immigrants per year. This would mean a net increase of 17 million immigrants into Japan from 2005 to 2050, with the result that by 2050 the immigrants and their descendants would total 22.5 million people, comprising 17.7 percent of the total population.”

I recommend Howard French’s excellent article, published in today’s International Herald Tribune, entitled “Japan and China have much to gain from each other.” It highlights just how both China and Japan can benefit from each other, by having China provide Japan with the bulk of its immigration needs and by Japan providing the Chinese with what French describes as, “social knowledge”.

According to the article, this type of integration “may even help China find its way toward another elusive goal: achieving pluralism and loosening the tyranny of central government control.” This would surely be welcomed in North-East Asia, and the world.

However, the road to a day when Japan will accept the need for immigration as reality will not be easy. An example of this difficulty can be seen clearly with the current perception by the Japanese (exaggerated and encouraged by the media) that foreigners cause most of the crimes in Japan. Shinichiro Fukushige of fukumimi.wordpress.com has more on this, in his February 8, 2007 post, “Statistics for crimes committed by foreigners.” Take a look, its worth a read.

Personally, I believe Japan will face reality sooner rather than later, and their already high level of infrastructure, quality of life, and positive world contributions will continue to improve.

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