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Doing Business in the Pacific Basin Japan is facing rapid population aging It is not new of course that Japans population is growing older -- it has the lowest birthrate of any developed nation almost no immigration and one of the longest-living populations By the year 2025 the proportion of those 65 and over will be highest in Japan followed by Italy and Hong Kong Among all the industrial nations Japan will be the oldest in the entire world There are several factors that have caused this situation Between 1947 and 1949 Japan had a baby boom The Japanese baby boom was very short and after that the birth rate declined dramatically This a brief amount of time compared to the baby boom of the US 1946-1964 During the first half of the 1950s three-quarters of pregnancies ended in abortion In the second half 50 of pregnancies were aborted And in the first half of the 1960s pregnancies were prevented with contraceptives In 1966 Births dropped dramatically Why Because it was the year of the fire horse and according to Japanese superstition girls born in that year will have very unhappy lives and most likely will kill their husbands For that reason parents tried to avoid births They either had babies the year before that or the year after that year In 1970 a large number of births were averted with contraceptives and abortion But in the recent past the pattern is different The proportion of singles has been rising dramatically in the last 20 years The source of declining fertility is different Marriage patterns have been changing It is one of the silent revolutions underway in Japan According to the 1985 population census 30 of women in their late 20s were single in 1990 five years
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