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The Vanishing Japanese

Monday, 07 March 2005 12:00 AM

According to the Post's Anthony Faiola, more than 2,000 elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide have been forced to close over the past decade and an estimated 300 more schools a year are scheduled to shut their doors over the next several years.

He reports that the number of elementary and junior high students fell from 13.42 million in 1994 to 10.86 million last year. As a result an estimated 63,000 teachers have lost their jobs. In the face of the lower birth rate , the percentage of people over 65 steadily increases.

And it's not just schools that are affected.

The Post explains that part of the problem lies with the fact that in 1990, when Japan's economic bubble burst, Japanese companies seeking less expensive help began hiring women for contract and part-time jobs in place of higher paid men and gender roles changed as a result.

"With increasing financial independence," Faiola wrote "more women are avoiding marriage. According to a poll released this week by Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, seven out of 10 single Japanese women say they have no desire to become wives - a role that in Japan still largely means staying home and raising children."

Japan, he added, has tried just about everything to boost the fertility rate, or number of children per woman, which hit a record low of 1.29 in 2003, compared with 2.01 in the United States which in itself is a mere 1 point above what is need to keep the population stable. The replacement level-the level of fertility at which populations replace themselves - is exactly 2.1.

Japan however, is not alone. In Europe, none of the larger countries are replacing their populations through natural increase. Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain all had fertility rates of 1.2 to 1.3.

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According to the Post's Anthony Faiola, more than 2,000 elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide have been forced to close over the past decade and an estimated 300 more schools a year are scheduled to shut their doors over the next several years. He reports...
The,Vanishing,Japanese
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2005-00-07
Monday, 07 March 2005 12:00 AM
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