One blogger seems to think there is a lesson to be learned:
Japan is doomed. It’s partly a problem that other developed countries are facing, but partly a consequence of decades of inflexibility, racism and formality.
The agent of Japan’s death is simple: depopulation.
The fertility rate in Japan is 1.29. That is 1.29 children per woman, whereas demographers consider replacement fertility to be about 2.1. All developed countries have lowering fertility rates, and its a problem of varying degrees. The liberation of women, higher ages of marriage, the cost of raising and educating children, all contribute towards low fertility. Japan suffers more than most (only Italy’s fertility rate is lower) but it’s a country-killer especially in Japan because
Japan refuses to take immigrants.
Immigration is the lifeblood of America, Canada, Australia and Europe. It keeps the economy, culture and pension systems alive in those countries. It provides young people (who have babies) and workers that both produce goods and consume them. Immigration causes some problems and the process is rarely completely smooth. But the target cultures are immeasurably enriched. New ideas, languages, cultures, food, all serve to enliven and stimulate the host country.
Japan is desperately in need of new ideas, culture, and languages, not to mention babies.
But Japan, unlike most Western countries, has been historically and culturally resistant to immigrants, even immigrants from other Asian nations such as China and Korea and it’s based in an immigration policy that has, quite honestly, become racist:
This (partly imaginary) homogeneity is partly the root cause of the problem. Only Japanese are (or can be) Japanese. And Japan is only for the Japanese. The idea, more or less accepted in countries like Canada or Australia, that you can become Australian or Canadian by living there for a long time or at least by being born there, is alien to Japan. If you don’t have Japanese blood, you can’t be Japanese. That simple. They also expect other nationalities to be similiar. All Americans are blond and blue eyed, for example. Many Japanese were confused, for example, when I told them many Australians are Asians. For the Japanese, even living there for many generation will not make you one of them. Koreans, whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought to Japan centuries ago, who look like and sound like Japanese, who no longer speak Korean, must carry Korean identification cards.
Japan, in other words, is anti-immigrant philosophy taken to it’s logical extreme.
And it’s what the United States could become if those who think that taking in people from other cultures will destroy us, which, of course, is the same thing that people said in the past about immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe. Not all of whom arrived here legally.