Tag Archives: Sustainability

Japans challenges

Challenges Facing Japan Today

I just finished reading this article from Japan for Sustainability, where Junko Edahiro talks about Japan’s challenges in society and economy.

Environmental changes are impacting Japan (and the world) in many ways. Global warming, for example, lead to a higher occurrence of extreme rainfalls and mudslides. And in 2010 alone, 1,700 people died of heatstroke.

The Japanese society is undergoing a large demographical change as the aging population continues to rise (even more than Sweden). An increasing amount of retirees will put a strain to the pension system, and the monthly payments will have to be cut. Doing so however, will decrease the disposable income of the retirement rich, which will lead to a decrease in economical growth for Japan. As the workforce decreases, there is talk of increasing the minimum retirement age to 74.

This all relates to a society’s carrying capacity, which is the maximum population an environment can sustain, and the need to keep develop processes that limit the use of resources to stay within that capacity.

Historically, Japan had enjoyed a long period of steady self-sustainability from 1603-1867 with limited contacts with the outside world. Westerners visiting Japan during that that time left stories of Japanese people being friendly, polite and happy looking. Compared to today where there aren’t so many smiles anymore. I`m wondering what the negative  implications of Japan’s decreasing population of now 128 million people would be?  Is there a way to make the Japanese people smile again? And is there an alternative route towards a sustainable and ‘happy’ society?


環境の変化はいろいろなことで日本に影響を与えている。たとえば、地球温暖化(global warming) が、たくさんの量の雨と土砂崩れをもたらしている。そして、2010年だけで1700人が熱中症で死亡した。





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