TOKYO (Christian Examiner) -- The Japan Family Planning Association reports nearly 50 percent of all Japanese adults are not having sex and the consequences are far greater than a dip in romance.
According to The Telegraph, a British news outlet, 49.3 percent of the 3,000 people interviewed said they had not had sex in the previous month—with 48.3 percent of men and 50.1 percent of women abstaining the previous 30 days.
Responses to follow-up questions give remarkable insights into the social phenomenon.
Women complained sex was "bothersome" (23.8 percent) and they were too tired from work (17.8 percent). Men also blamed fatigue as a factor (21.3 percent) and another cohort said they were not interested after their wives gave birth (15.7 percent).
even worse, a national social behavior is developing such that a growing group of young men (about 20 percent of males aged 25 to 29 years old) have little or no interest in sex, the report states.
The cumulative effect of these multiple data points is represented in the news that Japanese deaths outnumbered births "by the widest margin on record" in 2014.
The cause is not an increase in mortality, but just that couples are not having babies.
The total fertility rate, the measure of the average number of babies an adult woman will have in her lifetime, dropped to below 1.4, significantly lower than the 2.1 minimum (meaning, on average, each mother has two children—one to replace herself and the other taking her husband's place) needed to ensure a stabilized population (no growth and no drop).
What it means to the size of the population is the current total of 127 million Japanese will fall to about 84 million in 2060 and as low as 42 million in 2110—and the country will have many more older people than young folks.
Other countries are facing similar population changes, with almost half the world—mostly developed nations—caught up in falling numbers:
-- Europe has a combined TFR of about 1.5.
-- Although India will surpass China in total population in 2025, it will enter a slide in numbers about 35 years later, suffering the same reality of China resulting from a shrinking birth rate as well as sex-selective abortions
-- Singapore, which has a 0.8 total fertility rate, claims about 3.3 million citizens in a population of about 5.4 million—the rest are immigrants.
The United States is among eight countries projected to account for half the global population growth between 2013 and 2100—but it is included in the list only because of presumed continuing immigration. But at some point, immigration will not be enough.
The impact on economies will be devastating as work forces contract and labor shortages hurt all sectors from farming to manufacturing to services.
Japan has started to address its demographic demise through spending priorities, outlining plans to provide government support to women aged 20 to 39 years old in an effort to encourage more pregnancies.
But the math of Japan's population problem shows no matter what it does, the country is in for trouble.
Even if Japan were able to instantly raise its average births to 2.1 children per adult woman, it would still take 50 years to stabilize the population.