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Japan Faces Drastic Underpopulation Problems, Workers Leave to Make Babies

Steve Ertelt,

Tokyo, Japan ( — Japan faces such strong underpopulation problems that companies are more frequently letting their workers leave work early: to go home and make babies. Leading electronics firm Canon has resorted to the early leave policy because the nation’s low birthrate is causing a shortage of workers.

"Canon has a very strong birth planning program," company spokesman Hiroshi Yoshinaga. "Sending workers home early to be with their families is a part of it."

The Japanese birth rate, currently at 1.34, is well below the 2.0 threshold needed to maintain a nation’s population.

To help combat the underpopulation problem CNN indicates that Keidanren, Japan’s largest business group with 1,300 affiliated companies, has issued a memo urging its members to adopt the same sort of early leave program for workers.

Because of the prevalence of abortion and birth control, Japan, like Canada and many European nations, are facing a problem of too few people. The Asian nation is also seeing its population age and having too few workers to support the rash of retirees.

The Bank of Japan index underscores the problems by showing that the demand for labor is at its highest level in 16 years. By 2030, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates the Japanese workforce will shrink 20 percent.

With fewer babies born over the years, the agency says 40 percent of Japan’s population will be 65 or older by 2050 — more than doubling the current ratio.

The news doesn’t come as any surprise to pro-life advocates.

Abortion has resulted in a demographic nightmare for the island nation, which is the first to register more annual deaths than births.

Barry McLerran, producer of "Demographic Winter," a documentary on underpopulation problems, sees the abortion-underpopulation problem playing out in Russia as well.

"Russia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world at 1.17 children per woman," he told "A nation needs a birth rate of 2.0 just to replace current population."

"Because of its low birth rate and early deaths — due to disease and other factors — Russia is losing approximately 750,000 people a year," he explained.

Most demographers generally believe that Russia’s current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia’s population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century.