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Japan: Population to shrink by 2060

Japan's population will shrink by 30 percent by 2060, due to high life expectancy and low birth rates.

Japan population 2060Enlarge
Japan's population is expected to shrink by 30 percent by 2060, due to high life expectancy and low birth rates. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan expects its population to drop by 30 percent by 2060, according to the latest government report, CNN reported.

Currently, there are 128 million people living in Japan and that number is expected to fall to 86.74 million in the next half century. Birth rates in the country continue to remain low, according to data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s research organization released on Monday.

The report does state that Japan’s life expectancy will continue to rise, which is already one of the highest in the world, the BBC reported. By 2060, two out of every five people will be 65 or older, showing the financial burden over the fast-aging society, Reuters reported. The number of people aged 14 or lower will be less than 8 million.

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The average life expectancy will rise to 84.19 for men and 90.93 for women by 2060, the BBC reported.

The forecast of Japan's decreasing population shows the country is failing to encourage people have more children. It will also add new efforts to increase tax and social security reform. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said he will double a 5 percent sales tax in two stages by October 2015 to help fund the growing social security costs. Social security costs are rising by $13 billion, or 1 trillion yen, per year.

"The trend of the aging society will continue and it is hard to expect the birth rate to rise significantly," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said, Reuters reported. "Thus, comprehensive tax and social security reform is needed."

The research shows that the national workforce, which is made up of people aged 15 to 65, will shrink to about half of the total population, the BBC reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120130/japan-population-shrink-2060