KANAZAWA, Japan—Because demographics are supposed to be destiny, Japan was long ago consigned to stagnation with its aging population and rock-bottom birthrate.Dig the chart.
But in recent years Japan has defied destiny. Since 2012, its working-age population has shrunk by 4.7 million, yet the number of people working has surged by 4.4. million, the critical ingredient in what is now Japan’s second-longest economic expansion since World War II. The proportion of the population in the labor force has risen sharply since 2012, by more than in any other major advanced economy.
Japan is refreshing its labor force from three often-neglected pools: the elderly,women and foreigners.
This looks like the Axis powers near the end of the war, after they'd killed off all of their young men. Anyone they could lay their hands on was thrown into the factories to try to keep production levels up. This isn't healthy and it's not sustainable.
It's fine to keep working as long as you can. I'm getting up there in years and I don't plan on sitting in a rocking chair all day long any time soon. Still, if you're counting on codgers, coots and curmudgeons to drive an economic expansion, you've got rocks in your head.
I suppose they could always try having babies.
Nah. We're way past those traditionalist, patriarchal ways. The next thing to try will be robots. Lots and lots of robots.