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PMC Articles Tagged 'Japan'

Japan’s population decreased by 259,000 last year

April 18th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

The situation in Japan is deserving of ongoing attention; as you will see in the following news story from Business Week (which, unsurprisingly, produces an alarmist cant in their reporting), not only is the island nation’s population gradually declining, but there are calls to raise the tax on consumption to help shore up the social-security balance sheet. In short, we seem to be witnessing what so many have called for on a world wide basis: a generally healthy, generally prosperous nation with a gradually declining population instituting policy that will discourage consumption. See: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-17/japan-s-population-declined-by-largest-ever-0-dot-2-percent-last-year

Japan’s Population Declines by Record in Challenge for Growth

By Andy Sharp on April 17, 2012

Japan’s population fell by a record last year, underlining the struggle to boost growth and rein in soaring welfare costs in the world’s most rapidly aging society.

The population declined by 0.2 percent to 127.8 million as of Oct. 1, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a report today. Fukushima prefecture, which was devastated by last year’s record earthquake and nuclear disaster, registered the biggest decline, of 1.93 percent.

Japan faces a shrinking workforce as 2012 marks the first year the nation’s baby boomers are set to retire. The world’s third-largest economy has contracted three of the past four years and policy makers including Bank of Japan (8301) Governor Masaaki Shirakawa have said low growth is mainly the result of demographic changes.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-17/japan-s-population-declined-by-largest-ever-0-dot-2-percent-last-year

Birthrates Didn’t Doom Japan

March 26th, 2012 by joe | 1 Comment

I am very happy to distribute the following column, written by Froma Harrop. It is an excellent take on the situation in Japan. The Japanese population stabilization and (eventual) gradual decline have caused most pro-growth economists and other such cheerleaders to convulse in fear. As such, this is an especially nice read. See: http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120323/COLUMNISTS100/303230009

COLUMN: Birthrates did not doom Japan

There’s one complaint visitors to Tokyo rarely make, and that is “not enough people.” With a population of 36 million, the Tokyo metropolitan area stuffs an average 6,800 people in each square mile. By contrast, the New York metro area, with 19 million residents, has a density of 2,800 people per square mile.

The Tokyo subways still employ the legendary “people pushers,” who shove passengers into the already packed cars. The Japanese have a word for their daily trip to work: “tsukin jigoku,” or “commuter hell.”

In an area about the size of Montana, Japan has a population of 128 million. Montana has about 1 million. If any country could do with fewer people, it would be Japan.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120323/COLUMNISTS100/303230009

Whose lost decade? Japan’s economy works better than pessimists think-at least for the elderly

January 3rd, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Bill Ryerson for suggesting this article, originally sent in by Jim McDonald. Arguably, the people living on the island of Japan have achieved at least one aspect of what many seek for the whole planet: a generally stable, gradually declining population. See The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21538745

Whose lost decade?

Japan’s economy works better than pessimists think-at least for the elderly

Nov 19th 2011 | TOKYO | from the print edition

THE Japanese say they suffer from an economic disease called “structural pessimism”. Overseas too, there is a tendency to see Japan as a harbinger of all that is doomed in the economies of the euro zone and America-even though figures released on November 14th show its economy grew by an annualised 6% in the third quarter, rebounding quickly from the March tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Look dispassionately at Japan’s economic performance over the past ten years, though, and “the second lost decade”, if not the first, is a misnomer. Much of what tarnishes Japan’s image is the result of demography-more than half its population is over 45-as well as its poor policy in dealing with it. Even so, most Japanese have grown richer over the decade.

In aggregate, Japan’s economy grew at half the pace of America’s between 2001 and 2010. Yet if judged by growth in GDP per person over the same period, then Japan has outperformed America and the euro zone (see chart 1). In part this is because its population has shrunk whereas America’s population has increased.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.economist.com/node/21538745

Chernobyl Expert Warns of Dire Consequences

August 8th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Charlie Hall for the following press release. See: https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/03/25-4

March 25, 2011
3:05 PM

Linda Gunter, International Specialist,
Media Director (301) 270-2209 x 2 (o)

TAKOMA PARK, MD, March 25

Russian Chernobyl Expert Warns of Dire Consequences for Health Around Fukushima

Dense populations and risk of plutonium releases could mean Fukushima accident worse than Chernobyl, prominent Russian scientists says.

Dr. Alexey Yablokov, co-author of and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, warned today that the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan could be comparable to or potentially greater than the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl reactor explosion on April 26, 1986 in Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington, DC, Dr. Yablokov said: “We are seeing something that has never happened a multiple reactor catastrophe including one using plutonium fuel as well as spent fuel pool accidents, all happening within 200 kilometers of a metropolis of 30 million people. Because the area is far more densely populated than around Chernobyl, the human toll could eventually be far worse in Japan.”

Dr. Yablokov’s book calculated that as many as one million people had likely died as a result of the Chernobyl accident, figures far higher than other “official” reports. He said the book had been met “mostly with silence” from bodies like the World Health Organization who have “avoided discussion” about the findings.

To read the full release, please click here: https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/03/25-4

Japan’s Food Chain Threat

August 8th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

From Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=syndmedia_news&sid=afs5eGr1ZG14&refer=syndmedia%0A%09%09%09

Japan’s Food Chain Threat Multiplies as Radiation Spreads

July 25 (Bloomberg) — Radiation fallout from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant poses a growing threat to Japan’s food chain as unsafe levels of cesium found in beef on supermarket shelves were also detected in more vegetables and the ocean.

More than 2,600 cattle have been contaminated, Kyodo News reported July 23, after the Miyagi local government said 1,183 cattle at 58 farms were fed hay containing radioactive cesium before being shipped to meat markets.

Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano has said officials didn’t foresee that farmers might ship contaminated hay to cattle ranchers. That highlights the government’s inability to think ahead and to act, said Mariko Sano, secretary general for Shufuren, a housewives organization in Tokyo.

“The government is so slow to move,” Sano said. “They’ve done little to ensure food safety.”

Aeon Co., Japan’s biggest supermarket chain, said today 4,108 kilograms (9,056 pounds) of beef suspected of being contaminated was inadvertantly put on sale at 174 stores across Japan. Supermarkets started testing beef after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government found radioactive cesium in slaughtered cattle this month.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=syndmedia_news&sid=afs5eGr1ZG14&refer=syndmedia%0A%09%09%09

The Nuclear Cost Shell Game

July 18th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Fred Stanback for this article.  See http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55527

The Nuclear Cost Shell Game

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 6, 2011 (IPS) – The nuclear energy industry only exists thanks to what insurance experts call the “mother of all subsidies”, and the public is largely unaware that every nuclear power plant in the world has a strict cap on how much the industry might have to pay out in case of an accident.

In Canada, this liability cap is an astonishingly low 75 million dollars. In India, it is 110 million dollars and in Britain 220 million dollars. If there is an accident, governments – i.e. the public – are on the hook for all costs exceeding those caps.

Japan has a higher liability cap of 1.2 billion dollars, but that is not nearly enough for the estimated 25 to 150 billion dollars in decommissioning and liability costs for what is still an ongoing disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Seven weeks after the tsunami caused the disaster, radiation levels continued to spike higher.

No one knows when the reactors will finally be in cold shutdown, or when the costs of the Fukushima disaster will stop piling up. One report suggests decommissioning will take 30 years.

Japan’s credit rating was downgraded because of the accident, noted Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based energy and nuclear policy analyst who has worked in Japan. “The Japanese know it’s just a matter of time before another large earthquake occurs,” Schneider told IPS. “Japan will never build another nuclear plant.”

On Friday, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered the undamaged Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant, about 200 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, to cease operations over future earthquake concerns.

To read the full article, please click here: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55527

Learning From Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

April 29th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Fred Stanback for this article.  See http://blog.rmi.org/LearningFromJapansNuclearDisaster

Learning from Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

by Amory B. Lovins

Friday, March 18, 2011

As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror-radioactive fallout-some truths known for 40 years bear repeating.

An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors. The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can’t contain 90 percent of meltdowns. The U.S. has six identical and 17 very similar plants.

Every currently operating light-water reactor, if deprived of power and cooling water, can melt down. Fukushima had eight-hour battery reserves, but fuel has melted in three reactors. Most U.S. reactors get in trouble after four hours. Some have had shorter blackouts. Much longer ones could happen.

Overheated fuel risks hydrogen or steam explosions that damage equipment and contaminate the whole site–so clustering many reactors together (to save money) can make failure at one reactor cascade to the rest.

Nuclear power is uniquely unforgiving: as Swedish Nobel physicist Hannes Alfvén said, “No acts of God can be permitted.” Fallible people have created its half-century history of a few calamities, a steady stream of worrying incidents, and many near-misses. America has been lucky so far. Had Three Mile Island’s containment dome not been built double-strength because it was under an airport landing path, it may not have withstood the 1979 accident’s hydrogen explosion. In 2002, Ohio’s Davis-Besse reactor was luckily caught just before its massive pressure-vessel lid rusted through.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bloomberg Businessweek Calling for Increased Birth Rates

August 24th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Thanks to Gabriela Kaplan for notifying me about this article. You may want to post a response. It’s not surprising this comes from a real estate writer.
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Shrinking Societies: The Other Population Crisis

The earth’s population is growing at an alarming rate, but in some countries the lack of growth is the biggest problem

A Japanese woman’s role in society is to give birth, and “all we can do is ask them to do their best per head,” said Hakuo Yanagisawa, Japan’s former health minister. His remark, as reported by Bloomberg in 2007, drew criticism for being sexist, but it touches on one of Japan’s most pressing issues: its rapidly aging and shrinking population.

For full article, visit:
http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/aug2010/bw20100812_825983.htm