Japan is very slowly beginning to recover from the enormous economic and infrastructure setbacks caused by the March 11, 2011, earthquake. One reason for the slow pace of recovery is due to Japan's shrinking and ageing population, a phenomenon that is gradually and detrimentally affecting Japanese society as a whole.
Rita Yamaokaweeps during a town hall meeting in Hamamatsu, Japan, whereofficials laid out a plan to pay workers to return to theirhome countries. Despite Japan facing a rapid decline in its population, its leaders are reticent to pry open the country’s doors for more immigrants.
As of November 2011, Japan's population totalled 128 million, ranking it 10th in the world after Russia. Historically, Japan's large population has contributed to its dynamic economic output, providing a well-educated workforce along with a large domestic consumer market. However, since 2005 the total population has been in decline for the first time since World War II. Indeed, over the next decade it is expected to decrease by 5.3 million people, a significant decline of 4%, more than the entire population of Shikoku, Japan's fourth-largest island.
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