Japan next premier's hometown: demographic challenges by the numbers
By Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Yoshihide Suga, expected to become Japan's prime minister this week, hails from Akita prefecture in the north, which leads the world's most rapidly ageing country in greying and depopulation.
By Kiyoshi Takenaka
TOKYO (Reuters) - Yoshihide Suga, expected to become Japan's prime minister this week, hails from Akita prefecture in the north, which leads the world's most rapidly ageing country in greying and depopulation.
Suga, chief cabinet secretary to outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, often speaks of his modest background as a farmer's son from snowy Akita. He has spearheaded policies aimed at propping up rural Japan, which bears the brunt of the debilitating demographic change.
Here are some key facts about Akita, 450 km (280 miles) north of Tokyo, whose demographic woes anticipate what awaits the nation.
Akita's population is forecast to shrink 41% to 602,000 over the 30 years to 2045, outpacing a 16% nationwide decline, reckons the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
By 2045, just over half of Akita residents are forecast to be 65 or older, up from 34% in 2015. Nationwide, that ratio is expect to rise 10 percentage points to 37%.
With 16.4 deaths for every 1,000 residents in 2019, Akita has Japan's highest death rate. That compares with 11.2 deaths nationwide. Its birth rate, 4.9 per 1,000, is Japan's lowest.
Akita's per-capita annual income of 2.6 million yen ($24,500) is less than half of Tokyo's and 21% below the national average.
Akita prides itself on being Japan's third-largest producer of rice, a staple, but domestic demand for rice is on a long-term downtrend.
Farming, fishery and forestry represent 3% of Akita's economic output, triple the national figure. Secondary industry, which includes manufacturing, accounts for 22% of the prefecture's economy, below the national 27%.
Wind power generation is a rare growth industry in Akita, endowed with stable wind conditions. The prefecture has Japan's largest wind power generation capacity, followed by neighbouring Aomori and Hokkaido to the north, according to the Japan Wind Power Association.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by William Mallard)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.