Ambassador (retd.) Kishan S Rana, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.
The word ‘Japanification’ has come to mean a sharp decline in the population and workforce, as a result from a huge secular decline in the birthrate, to a point where it leads to a contraction of the economy, and a huge threat of a burgeoning number of old age dependents, which alters the very structure of life. In 2005, its ‘total fertility rate’ (TFR), i.e. the number of children per woman) fell to 1.26; it has risen slightly since then, but experts estimate this as a change in the timing of birth, and not a long-term change.