We are legend

China announced recently that its population shrunk for the first time since the 1960s. Now, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida said his country is on the “verge of whether we can continue to function as a society” due to the declining birth rate and lack of children. Like a number of countries, Japan had a post-war baby boom, but for a while now, demographers have been pointing to it as an example of what can happen when a society doesn’t produce enough children. 

Apart from the aging population, loneliness in Japan is considered a dire enough problem for the government to appoint a minister to tackle it. Lack of families has given rise to the phenomenon of “solitary deaths”. Finding enough people to care for the elderly has prompted the use of automated care, but as you may have guessed, robots are no substitute for human relationships and actually create new problems. 

The government also started offering monetary incentives to families willing to move away from Tokyo to small and aging villages. The tiny village of Nagoro has been replacing citizens with effigies after they die. If people heed Kishida’s warning, perhaps it can put away the scarecrows. 

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