I’ve been fascinated with Japan for a long time now. I started enjoying their popular culture as a teenager including music and anime. As I grew older this interest expanded to include politics and what you could call sociology. I often found myself in front of a screen watching a documentary or two on the country. It has been apparent for some years now that Japan and other East Asian countries in particular have a problem. A demographic problem. Their birthrates have declined and young people simply aren’t doing their “Darwinian duty”. They are not having children. Japan famously now sells more diapers to old people than to babies. This means that a number of countries are going to have population contraction. This in and of itself is not necessarily terrible. However, it is a big problem if you have a welfare state. Welfare states require several workers to support a single recipient. Rising numbers of old people coupled with a shrinking population of workers is not compatible.
Who gets the blame for young people refusing to copulate? Academics and the media typically put the blame at the feet of video games, electronic distractions and so on. This is partly true. Video games today are orders of magnitude more immersive compared to the old days of Pong. The internet is vast and endless with limitless varieties of pornography. Why bother finding someone to go on a date with when you have a mountain of different “partners” online? One would think that the innate desire to procreate would overcome such distractions. People smarter than me could point to scientific facts about lowered testosterone and so on as causes. This is also a key part of this trend.
But, what does this have to do with the current tensions with North Korea? North Korean nukes are a possibility, demographic challenges are a reality (in fact they’re here right now!). A rogue nation with a deranged lunatic at its head is obviously not a good situation. It is however “easy” to counter. North Korea is not suicidal. They know that they will lose any war. Their military equipment is obsolete and poorly maintained. The US and South Korea are technological powerhouses. They could easily crush the poor equipment of the North. North Korea on the other hand has a shitload of conventional artillery zeroed in on Seoul. North Korea would lose any armed conflict, but not before inflicting unacceptable casualties on the South. That is the true Sword of Damocles that hangs over the tensions. Nukes are superfluous, they already have a deterrent.
Knowing this, we shouldn’t be overly worried about North Korea… yet. When they a couple of years hence acquire ICBMs the ball game changes. But, back to my original point. The challenges of demographics are very real and the effects are here right now. Japan, South Korea and other nations will become weakened if nothing is done. Immigration can compensate to a degree for the unconceived babies, but not fill the gap entirely. The economic Sword of Damocles that threatens the future of the welfare state is just as real as any North Korean nuke or collection of artillery. These nations should take their sexless youngsters as seriously as they take the outbursts from the little fat man north of the DMZ.
These challenges are not unique to East Asia. Westerners are also spending too much time on CandyCrush and Facebook and too little time getting freaky in the bedroom.