Rural Areas in Japan Struggling with Shrinking and Aging Population

In recent times, one of the major social issues that the Land of the Rising Sun has to deal with is its shrinking and aging population as a result of low birth rate. This trend has caused a chronic labor shortage in Japan especially in the fourteen identified sectors such as but not limited to food and service industry, construction, nursing and agriculture, among others.


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Aside from its population problem, another alarming matter that is prevalent in Japan is the so-called rural flight. Since there is a big gap or disparity between big cities in the country and small cities and towns in the suburbs, most young Japanese prefer to work and settle in these major cities particularly in the capital Tokyo through Osaka. In this regard, the Japanese government has exerted efforts to bridge the gap and address this social issue.


For instance, in Akita Prefecture, there is a mini grocery store called Misekko Asaminai in which isolated residents from far flung and suburban areas gather, sing and enjoy each other’s company while at the same time purchase their necessities. The store is supported by the Japanese government to aid the depopulated rural areas wherein people are struggling for their daily sustenance which includes health care and food items.


If the same trend continues, studies predict that the population in the rural areas will drop by another seventeen percent in a span of twelve years from 2018 until 2013. Based on United Nations Data, this decline will continue by two percent every year in 2030 onwards. There were some Japanese people who said that small towns in the rural areas might be totally abandoned over time. As a matter of fact, many of these areas are struggling nowadays.


According to a survey conducted by the Agricultural Ministry of Japan, more than eighty percent of people residing in towns located at rural areas are having difficulty in obtaining groceries or necessities for their own consumption due to old age and lack of support from the younger generation.


Reference: The world is watching as Japan deals with severe population decline and rural flight


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