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Japan now “oldest developed country”, with “no way” to balance its economic books, warns international thinktank

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By Steven Raeburn, N/A

April 18, 2013 | 2 min read

The proportion of Japanese aged 65 or older is scheduled to hit 39 percent by 2050, making it the oldest developed country, a leading international thinktank has warned.

"Dire demographioc outlook," says Richard Jackson

The country’s population will continue to age “for decades to come”.

“Japan’s total population, which is already contracting, will enter a precipitous decline, shrinking by over a half by the end of the century,” the report by Chatham House, the renowned institute for Independent Thinking on International Affairs warned.

Report author Richard Jackson, a Senior Fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the problem is a result of Japan’s “chronically low fertility rate, world-record life expectancy, and aversion to migrants.”

“Its flagging productivity performance, creeping deflation, and Greek-sized government debt all compound the dire demographic outlook,” he adds.

“At 1.3 births per woman, there is simply no way for it to balance its demographic and economic books.”

He concludes that Japan must raise its fertility rate if its economy is to prosper in the long run.

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