Saturday, July 01, 2006


"Japanese women had a life expectancy of 85.6 years in 2005, the world's highest for the 20th straight year. Japanese men live an average of 78.6 years, second only to Icelandic males.

The fertility rate is hitting rock-bottom _ 1.25 children per woman, far below the 2.1 needed to keep the population steady. The U.S. rate is 2.04 children per woman.

Those two trends converged at some point last year, when Japan silently marked a demographic watershed: The population started to drop, beginning a long decline that demographers predict will cut the number of Japanese from 127 million now to about 100 million by 2050. Three of every 10 will be over 65.

It's already visible in the gleaming nursing homes cropping up in every corner of the archipelago, while once-crowded schools are closing for lack of students. Some 4,000 have shut their doors in the past 20 years."


"A book of his poems has caused sales of the traditional HB and 2H wooden pencils to soar by nearly a third in the past few months."

Elder wisdom is gaining...

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