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Mark Steyn on Japan (and the rest of the West's) self inflicted demographic implosion.

The "alarmism" of my book seems to be going mainstream. Newsweek's economics editor Daniel Gross belatedly joins the demographic deathwatch on Japan:

Japan's population peaked in 2004 at about 127.8 million and is projected to fall to 89.9 million by 2055. The ratio of working-age to elderly Japanese fell from 8 to 1 in 1975 to 3.3 to 1 in 2005 and may shrivel to 1.3 to 1 in 2055. "In 2055, people will come to work when they have time off from long-term care," said Kiyoaki Fujiwara, director of economic policy at the Japan Business Federation.

Such a decline is cataclysmic for an indebted country that values infrastructure and personal service. (Who is going to maintain the trains, pay for social benefits, slice sushi at the Tsukiji fish market?) The obvious answers—encourage immigration and a higher birthrate—have proved difficult, even impossible, for this conservative society.

Mr Gross isn't quite there yet. One can be pro- or anti-immigration but, either way, it doesn't solve a baby bust as severe as Japan's.

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