Japan will cease to exist if it doesn’t reverse its declining birthrate, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has warned, reacting to a Kyodo News report that the country’s population has seen its biggest drop ever. never recorded in 2021.
“At the risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes so that the birth rate exceeds the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. It would be a great loss to the world,” Musk said, in a post to his account on Sunday.
Musk has repeatedly mentioned in the past his concern about a global population “collapse” as potentially the greatest risk to human civilization.
Japan’s population has shrunk by a record 644,000 people to just over 125.5 million in 2021, marking the 11th straight year of decline. This decline is the largest since 1950, when comparable data became available.
Japan recorded 831,000 births that year, but that figure was surpassed by 1.44 million deaths, according to government data.
A record nearly 29% of the population was aged 65 and over, while those aged 14 and under made up a record 11.8%.
In addition to the rapid aging of Japanese society, the decline in 2021 is explained by the decrease in the number of foreign residents due to the tightening of border controls following the coronavirus pandemic.
The Japanese government has long faced the challenges of an aging population and a declining workforce, and it has hoped to ease the labor shortage by attempting to increase the number of foreign workers in under a relaxed visa system.