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Economy Japan's labour force to face deficit of 11m workers in 2040

thomas

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According to a study by the independent think-tank Recruit Works Institute published yesterday, Japan will face a shortage of more than 11 million workers by 2040, underscoring the nation's economic challenges as its population ages rapidly. The worker supply is expected to shrink by about 12% in 2040 from 2022, even as labour demand remains steady.


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has prioritised reversing Japan's declining birthrate for his government. He warns of societal collapse as the number of babies born hits a new low. He has also pledged about ¥1 trillion ($7.6 billion) to training workers for more high-skilled jobs in the next five years. Still, the nation of 126 million is already starting to feel the strain, with the working-age population expected to shrink by 20% from 2020 to 59.8 million by 2040, according to the report. Kishida is already seeking ways to address a severe shortage of truck drivers expected by next year. The study also warns shortfalls will likely become acute in labour-intensive sectors like transportation, construction, and health care due to growing demands from an ageing population.


If you think that Japan would contemplate opening the floodgates to immigration, you're wrong:

Japan's relative decline in global economic standing and a similar ageing crisis worldwide means that boosting immigration is not the most viable solution over the long term, the study led by chief researcher Shoto Furuya said. Earlier research by the Value Management Institute said Japan needs 6.74 million foreign workers by 2040, or nearly four times the number it had in 2020, to achieve an average annual growth of about 1.24%.


The labour shortfall will not affect Tokyo but every other corner of Japan:

Japan's rural-urban divide is likely to get worse over time as well, the study finds, with all of the nation's prefectures except Tokyo facing a labour shortfall by 2040. Kyoto prefecture would lack about 39% of the workers it needs, while the northern island of Hokkaido would see an insufficiency rate of nearly 32%.


Source: Japan to Face 11 Million Worker Shortfall by 2040, Study Finds
 
The labour shortfall will not affect Tokyo but every other corner of Japan:
Yes. Now even the entire staff at Oteshima Elementary/Junior High School is out of a job (I assume but maybe they will keep the payroll going?)

When Akino Imanaka attended her junior high school graduation earlier this month, the whole community turned out to celebrate. It wasn't just that Imanaka had ranked at the top of her class — she was the class. Imanaka was the sole student on the island of Oteshima, a tiny speck of land in Japan's famed Inland Sea.

"It was a little lonely, but really fun," the 15-year-old told CBS News, recalling her experience as the only elementary school and then junior high student on Oteshima, about 10 miles north of the main island of Shikoku, in western Japan. Tutoring the teen over the past few years was a team of no less than five instructors, each responsible for two subjects. Among them was Kazumasa Ii, 66, who taught Japanese language and social studies. Trying to create any semblance of normal class life prompted the staff to take on some unusual duties: Besides lesson plans and grading papers, they occasionally had to stand in as classmates.
Ii concedes that outsiders might reasonably question the utility of keeping an entire school and its staff on the clock for a single student.

"Of course it's inefficient," he said, speaking from Oteshima Junior High as it prepared to close its doors, likely for good. But rural schools, he argued, are much more than places of learning.
Source: A Japanese girl just graduated from junior high as a class of one, as the "light goes out" on a small town.
 
According to a study by the independent think-tank Recruit Works Institute published yesterday, Japan will face a shortage of more than 11 million workers by 2040, underscoring the nation's economic challenges as its population ages rapidly. The worker supply is expected to shrink by about 12% in 2040 from 2022, even as labour demand remains steady.





If you think that Japan would contemplate opening the floodgates to immigration, you're wrong:




The labour shortfall will not affect Tokyo but every other corner of Japan:




Source: Japan to Face 11 Million Worker Shortfall by 2040, Study Finds
Should the year in the heading of the thread be 2040 not 2024?
 
With all the advances in technology and AI, it makes me wonder why they aren't genuinely being used to solve problems like these (and in general, to make live easier for human beings) rather than mostly to enrich tech CEOs and wealthy investors while people either work harder than ever for less compensation.
 
With all the advances in technology and AI, it makes me wonder why they aren't genuinely being used to solve problems like these (and in general, to make live easier for human beings) rather than mostly to enrich tech CEOs and wealthy investors while people either work harder than ever for less compensation.


It's the CEOs who pay for the technology and the research into AI, and they want their ROI. None of us will see the day, but I'm optimistic that humankind will not always be guided by greed.


Yes. Now even the entire staff at Oteshima Elementary/Junior High School is out of a job (I assume, but maybe they will keep the payroll going?)/QUOTE]

Some of the school staff look beyond retirement age. Perhaps the younger ones (those in their 50s) will be reassigned.
 
With all the advances in technology and AI, it makes me wonder why they aren't genuinely being used to solve problems like these (and in general, to make live easier for human beings) rather than mostly to enrich tech CEOs and wealthy investors while people either work harder than ever for less compensation.
Definitely technology is being used to tackle these problems too. Here are a few examples
this article talks about the gap between the promise and the reality.
 
Japan's relative decline in global economic standing and a similar ageing crisis worldwide means that boosting immigration is not the most viable solution over the long term, the study led by chief researcher Shoto Furuya said. Earlier research by the Value Management Institute said Japan needs 6.74 million foreign workers by 2040, or nearly four times the number it had in 2020, to achieve an average annual growth of about 1.24%.

This line of thought strikes me as very unusual. Furuya says "Boosting immigration is not the most viable solution over the long term", and yet all they require is 6.7 million foreign workers by 2040? And the researcher contrasts that with the 2020 level, by saying its "nearly" four times the number it had in 2020, as if it is out of the question to boost the number by 4 over the course of nearly two decades.

First of all, 2020 was an extraordinarily low year because of Covid, no? And in the second place, Japan is already not exactly encouraging immigrants, so the base number is already very low. Its not the number of immigrants one would expect of a country that desperately needs immigrants. This whole idea of "we couldn't possibly boost our currently low immigration base over the next 17 years" seems like a massive avoidance mechanism. It's like a kid who won't eat broccolli, and the mother says to eat two pieces, and the kid says "I couldn't possibly eat two pieces, because my current intake is zero pieces".
 
Japan's relative decline in global economic standing and a similar ageing crisis worldwide means that boosting immigration is not the most viable solution over the long term, the study led by chief researcher Shoto Furuya said. Earlier research by the Value Management Institute said Japan needs 6.74 million foreign workers by 2040, or nearly four times the number it had in 2020, to achieve an average annual growth of about 1.24%.

This line of thought strikes me as very unusual. Furuya says "Boosting immigration is not the most viable solution over the long term", and yet all they require is 6.7 million foreign workers by 2040? And the researcher contrasts that with the 2020 level, by saying its "nearly" four times the number it had in 2020, as if it is out of the question to boost the number by 4 over the course of nearly two decades.

First of all, 2020 was an extraordinarily low year because of Covid, no? And in the second place, Japan is already not exactly encouraging immigrants, so the base number is already very low. Its not the number of immigrants one would expect of a country that desperately needs immigrants. This whole idea of "we couldn't possibly boost our currently low immigration base over the next 17 years" seems like a massive avoidance mechanism. It's like a kid who won't eat broccolli, and the mother says to eat two pieces, and the kid says "I couldn't possibly eat two pieces, because my current intake is zero pieces".
I learned that the trick to picky eaters is not to negotiate or demand, but to present options: "Which do you want to eat first, some broccoli or some carrots?" You don't need to be controlling, you just calmly and firmly offer options that don't include not doing the thing that needs to be done. I don't know if this works because it gives the impression of free will or because it doesn't invite the urge to rebel against orders, but I've seen it work wonders with my nephews and nieces.

In a lot of ways this makes me want to draw parallels to the climate crisis: Japan is staring down a freight train that's moving very slowly but inevitably towards it, and the consequences of failing to act will only compound as time goes on. So I guess the question would be: Do they want to call for help or try to switch tracks on their own? Because the alternative is to get crushed.

I can understand Japan's hesitancy to fling the doors open; although the country is far from homogenous that illusion persists, so they're afraid of the sudden changes that a massive demographic shift might cause. This insular attitude and xenophobia go hand-in-hand with plain ignorance, as I think most of the people who are really worried about diluting Japanese culture are poorly traveled and completely oblivious, or have extremely limited experience with foreign people and cultures. We can't necessarily ignore them or drag them kicking and screaming into reality, but they must be fully informed of the consequences of each decision made, and then hopefully the adults in charge will proceed with the necessary measures to save the country.
 
I learned that the trick to picky eaters is not to negotiate or demand, but to present options: "Which do you want to eat first, some broccoli or some carrots?" You don't need to be controlling, you just calmly and firmly offer options that don't include not doing the thing that needs to be done. I don't know if this works because it gives the impression of free will or because it doesn't invite the urge to rebel against orders, but I've seen it work wonders with my nephews and nieces.

In a lot of ways this makes me want to draw parallels to the climate crisis: Japan is staring down a freight train that's moving very slowly but inevitably towards it, and the consequences of failing to act will only compound as time goes on. So I guess the question would be: Do they want to call for help or try to switch tracks on their own? Because the alternative is to get crushed.

I can understand Japan's hesitancy to fling the doors open; although the country is far from homogenous that illusion persists, so they're afraid of the sudden changes that a massive demographic shift might cause. This insular attitude and xenophobia go hand-in-hand with plain ignorance, as I think most of the people who are really worried about diluting Japanese culture are poorly traveled and completely oblivious, or have extremely limited experience with foreign people and cultures. We can't necessarily ignore them or drag them kicking and screaming into reality, but they must be fully informed of the consequences of each decision made, and then hopefully the adults in charge will proceed with the necessary measures to save the country.
So we can give Japan a choice. More immigration or Soylent Green the old people.
 
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