When baby diaper manufacturers start producing adult diapers

There are three pictures that highlight the serious problem facing Japan as its population ages: prisons are filled with elderly people, maternity wards of many hospitals are closing due to childbirth and a shortage of adults.They start demanding more diapers from the children.

In a country where this usually happens One in 10 citizens is over 80 years of age, The Asian superpower has the highest proportion of elderly people in the world. Only 12% of the population is under 14 years of age, while about 30% is over 65 years of age.

One of Japan’s largest disposable diaper manufacturers has just announced that it will stop producing baby products And will go entirely to the ones meant for the elderly. Tokyo-based company Oji Nepia has said that, due to a dramatic drop in demand, it has no choice but to shut down its production and stop manufacturing baby diapers.

Sales of diapers have increased from 700 million to 400 million in two decades. “In the future, we plan to strengthen the production of disposable adult diapers, the demand for which is expected to increase in the coming years,” the company statement said.

Last year, 758,631 babies were born in Japan, a record low compared to more than 1.5 million deaths. But the demographic disaster is something that also extends to its Asian neighbours. South Korea’s fertility rate is the lowest in the world: The average number of babies per South Korean woman during her reproductive lifetime will fall to 0.72 in 2023, well below the 2.1 children needed to sustain the current population of 51 million.

They are not much better in China. After decades of unstoppable growth, it became the most populous country on the planet, becoming the second world power, with India overtaking it in terms of population only last year, facing a historic demographic recession for two years Due to which there is a danger of further blow to the sluggish economic growth.

In 2023, 9.02 million babies were born in China, down 5.6% from 9.56 million in 2022. This was the lowest birth rate since records began in 1949.

China, home to one-sixth of the world’s population, continues to shrink and age. For Before 2080, the population over 65 is expected to exceed the working age,

In conservative Japan, where 125 million people currently live, if ambitious immigration policies are not activated, Population is expected to decline to 88 million in 206530% reduction in 45 years. In South Korea, family planning institutions estimate that the population will decline by almost half, to about 26.8 million.

“We are going through an existential crisis right now,” the Japanese Prime Minister said a few weeks ago. Fumio KishidaWho has three children with his wife, which is well above the national average of 1.3 for a woman in her lifetime. “In Japan we are on the verge of finding out whether we will be able to continue to function as a society,” Kishida warned last year.

To reverse the worrying trend, the government in Tokyo, like Seoul or Beijing, has been continuously introducing financial support policies, extended maternity leave, tax benefits, housing subsidies or free fertility treatments.

Analyzes coming from all three countries agree that the demographic disaster has increased High costs of raising children and high property prices, Also due to the extreme competitiveness of these still very sexist societies, where working mothers continue to carry the double burden of housework and child care, and at the same time maintaining their careers.

After World War II, some of these Asian countries, amid rapid economic growth, He started deciding policies to control population growth, China took the most extreme step with the one-child policy in effect from 1980 to 2015, when Beijing tried to reverse a declining birth rate and aging population by allowing two children per family.

Six years later, the Chinese government gave way to large families. But the problem is that now more and more Chinese, as well as Japanese and South Koreans, decide not to have children or delay the age of becoming parents. The adult diaper industry will continue to grow in East Asia.

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