TOKYO — An Elon Musk tweet saying Japan would “eventually cease to exist” and not using a increased birthrate set off a flood of sarcasm and anger on Monday — although a lot of the angst was aimed toward a Japanese authorities many stated did little to handle the difficulty.
Mr. Musk, the top of electrical automobile maker Tesla, Inc., on the weekend tweeted, “At risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birth rate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. This would be a great loss for the world.”
The remark hit a nerve amongst Japan watchers and in Japan, whose inhabitants peaked in 2008 and has declined since as a result of its low birthrate to about 125 million as of final yr regardless of authorities warnings and sporadic makes an attempt to grapple with the difficulty.
However Japan stays the world’s third-largest economic system, host to international heavyweights starting from automobile producers to video games builders, and is a key hyperlink in international semiconductor provide chains.
“What is even the point of tweeting this?” wrote Tobias Harris, senior fellow on the Middle for American Progress.
“The anxieties surrounding Japan’s demographic future is not that ‘Japan will eventually cease to exist’ but rather the profound social dislocations that are occurring as a result of the decline to a lower population level.”
Others famous sluggish birthrates plague many countries in addition to Japan, together with Germany — the place Tesla has simply opened a brand new manufacturing unit — and that Japan was merely being hit first.
However many Japanese commentators stated the state of affairs was not stunning and slammed their authorities for not doing sufficient to combat it, resembling by offering extra daycare facilities and making it simpler for girls to return to work after having youngsters.
“They keep saying the birthrate’s falling, but given that the government isn’t taking thorough steps to deal with it, what can we say? Everything they say and do is contradictory,” wrote Twitter person SROFF. “In this environment, who’s going to say ‘Okay, let’s have a child’? I despair for Japan.” — Reuters