Friday, August 15, 2008

Japan and population decline

A Times article today discussed Japan's aging population and the economic strains produced by a shrinking labor force.

The article reports about 1 million foreign workers in Japan, or about 1.5% of a total labor force of about 67 million. By comparison, the U.S. has about 24 million foreign-born workers, or 16% of the U.S. labor force.

If you think immigration politics are brutal here in the U.S., the unease about immigration in Japan is enough to make you wince. The article reports that "no Japanese interviewed welcomed the idea of immigrants [in his or her town] or elsewhere in Japan."