Demographics: Aging — Like other postindustrial countries Japan faces falling birth rates, almost no net immigration (unique to Japan), and one of the highest life expectancies in the world. In 2007 21,2% of Japan’s population was 65 years or older. In Tokyo 18,9% is 65 years or older. This makes Tokyo one of the greyest metropolises in the world. Japan has seen alarmingly low birthrates the last decades, which is also translating into the political dimensions of demographics: Young people are outnumbered by older voters, and are concentrated in cities, where ballots carry less weight, proportionally, than in the sparsely populated countryside.
Demographics: Migration — The projected population of Japan in 2100 will be close to Japan’s population in 1880 (approximately 30 million, compared to the present 130 million) if Japan wouldn’t change their policy on immigration and naturalization ‚which is unlikely since Japanese culture has in immense resistance to ‘otherness’.
Demographics: Urban-Rural — Tokyo is a slightly different story, as much of Japan’s population has started to migrate to the city swelling the city to 36 million inhabitants, which is projected to stay more or less stable over the coming decennia. While many rural area’s depopulate, there is also a minor trend of young professionals returning to their hometowns for the pragmatic reasons of finding work or setting up businesses of their own, and the emergence of ‘art-villages’ induced by either by artists moving to the countryside, or curators trying to revitalize the relation to the countryside through biennales-like events, for example Echigo-Tsumari. Perhaps these are signs of new kinds of dynamic between the countryside and the city.