Japan’s birth rate stands at 1.21 per family, far below the rate of 2.08 babies that is required for a stable population.
As of March 2009, Japan’s total population stood at just over 127 million, but that figure is projected to decline to 95 million by 2050. And if more drastic measures fail to encourage people to have sex–and hence children–then there will be a mere 47.7 million Japanese at the turn of the next century.
According to the survey of 671 men and 869 women, issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 35.1 per cent of men aged 16 to 19 said they are not interested in or averse to sex, more than double the 17.5 per cent of men in the previous study in 2008.
“Obviously, the most important reason for Japan’s declining birth rate is that people are not having sex,” Dr. Kunio Kitamura, head of the Japan Family Planning Association, told The Daily Telegraph.
“Combined with the rising number of elderly people, this population imbalance is a major problem,” he said.
Equally worrying, he said, is the increase in the number of married couples who are officially recognised as “sexless,” meaning they have not had sex for more than one month.
The figure has risen to 40.8 percent of all married couples, up from 36.5 percent two years ago and 31.9 percent in 2004.
The government has attempted a series of campaigns to encourage couples to have more children–from making companies insist that their staff leave work at 6pm to increasing child allowances–but none of that is gong to have an impact if people are not going to have sex, Kitamura said.