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Japan’s Coming Population ImplosionTani Sadafumi

Japan is entering uncharted demographic territory as its rapidly aging society embarks on a phase of negative population growth. Can the trend be reversed? How can Japan maintain economic growth amid a shrinking labor force and soaring social security costs? Tani Sadafumi reports on Japan’s demographic dilemma.

Reading Between the Lines of Abenomics 2.0Hayakawa Hideo

Prime Minister Abe’s announcement of three new arrows to guide stage two of Abenomics took the nation by surprise. It signals a recognition that the first three arrows are not working, writes former BOJ Executive Director Hayakawa Hideo, and forebodes a major shift in monetary policy.

“My Number”: Portal to a Digital SocietyMorinobu Shigeki

Under Japan’s new My Number national identification system, set to go into effect next January, each registered resident is being assigned a unique lifetime ID number to facilitate integrated management of taxpayer information and prevent tax and welfare fraud. The author, an expert in national ID systems worldwide, urges the Japanese to overcome their suspicions and tap into the system’s vast potential for high-tech convenience and efficiency.

Will Lowering the Voting Age Change Japanese Politics?Sugawara Taku

In June 2015, an amendment to the Public Offices Election Act lowering the voting age from 20 to 18 was enacted by the Diet. Starting with next year’s House of Councillors contest, over 2 million new voters will be able to take part in elections. Political commentator Sugawara Taku examines the potential impact of the new voting age on the Japanese political landscape.

Wrestling with Poverty and Income InequalityKomamura Kōhei

Japan is not the only industrialized nation that has seen an increase in income inequality in the past few decades, but it is one of the few countries where the poor are actually getting poorer. Komamura Kōhei draws on hard data to document this trend while examining its social and policy implications.

Can Japan Boost Its Low Birthrate?

Japan, like many other countries, has a declining birthrate that is likely to result in a host of socioeconomic problems. The Japanese government hopes to create a social environment that will raise the country’s total fertility rate.

Graying Japan to Face Unprecedented Challenges

Japan is seeing its population age faster than any other country in the world. Projections indicate that by 2060 there will be just 1.3 workers for every senior citizen, increasing the burden on the working-age population. This article traces the figures behind the graying of Japan.

Clock Running Down on Social Security ReformYashiro Naohiro

Fixing Japan’s public finances requires rethinking pensions, medical expenses for senior citizens, and other costs to the social welfare system. Yashiro Naohiro, visiting professor at International Christian University, looks at what reforms are needed to make social security sustainable as the population grays.

Confronting Japan’s Unpleasant Fiscal ArithmeticKobayashi Keiichirō

The Japanese government has faced stiff resistance to planned increases in the consumption tax, the first of which was implemented on April 1. But according to recent calculations, even the 10% rate scheduled for 2015 pales beside the revenue increases needed to avert a financial meltdown over the next few decades. Keiō University economist Kobayashi Keiichirō reviews this “unpleasant arithmetic” and urges the government to plan accordingly.

The Barriers to Budget Balance in JapanOkazaki Tetsuji

Despite the crisis-level size of its public debt, Japan continues to run large deficits financed by additional borrowing. Economic historian Okazaki Tetsuji examines the barriers to restoring health in government finances.

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