TOKYO: Japan’s population will decline to 3,000 people by the year 3000 and could eventually become zero if no measures are taken, warned Shigeru Ishiba, the minister in charge of overcoming population decline and vitalising the local economy.
Japan's population peaked in 2008 at about 128 million, before falling by 780,000 in 2013. The population is forecast to halve by 2100, with the fastest decline in the countryside.
What supported the rural areas were public works and soliciting companies, but Mr Ishiba said on Tuesday (Nov 24) that now has to be changed to encouraging direct investment and to attracting foreign tourists.
Japan ranked 196th among 199 countries for direct investment against its GDP, while the tourism industry is just 1.8 per cent of the country's GDP.
Mr Ishiba said Japan has the potential to grow further, especially in inbound tourism. He also called for a rise in labour productivity as many rural areas are short of workers. He added that immigration should be encouraged.
Mr Ishiba is seen as a rival of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He has run against Mr Abe in the party presidential election, and gained more votes in the rural party voting.