Japan Digest #359

1.        Japan’s Dire Prospect Of Population Declination


National Institute of Population and Security Research of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor announced on April 26 its estimate of Japan’s future population trends. 

A comparison of demography was made between 2020 and 2070 as follows: 


                                   2020                            2070

Total population            126.2 million                 87.0 million

Age 0 to 14        15.0 (11.9%)                8.0 (9.2%)

      15 to 64        75.1 (59.5%)              45.4 (52.1%)

      65 and up     36.0 (28.6%)              33.7 (38.7%)

(Foreigners            2.5 (  2.2%)                9.4 (10.8%)

Birth rate                     1.33                             1.36


An assumption was made that the number of foreign people working and living in Japan would constantly grow through the future to come despite the fact that the government policy has not been drastically changed to welcome foreign workers yet.


2.   Kishida To Ponder The Timing Of Dissolving The Lower House


In the wake of the two nation-wide local elections as well as the by-elections for the Upper House and Lower House of five vacant seats, which resulted in ruling LDP’s victory, if not a triumph, the media is now speculating the timing for PM Kishida to dissolve the House of Representatives for a national election.

Such a political act is prime minister’s one of given options to take to gain more control over the legislation so that his cabinet would be able to implement its political agenda. 

An earliest possible timing of the dissolution may be sometime in the weeks after PM Kishida hosts the G7 Summit in Hiroshima in May this year and before the end of the present Ordinary Diet Session, namely June 21.

The present Lower House members’ expiration of the term of office is October 20 of 2025. 

And, Kishida’s expiration of the term of LDP presidency is September 30 of 2024. 

Kishida should be deliberately considering the timing of the dissolution taking those milestones into consideration, the media reported.  


3.  Japan’s Conventional Auto Production Might Have Reached Its Peak


Japan’s top 8 auto manufacturers announced the total number of auto production in 2022 as 24.2 million, which is a 4.2% increase from 2021. 

Among others, Toyota produced 9.1 million cars in the year, which is the highest ever. 

The number of Toyota cars sold in 2022 was 9.6 million, which is also the record highest number.  

However, only a 4% of the Toyota sold cars represents EVs. 

Last year, around 10.2 million EVs were sold in the world, according to IEA. 

China sold 6 million EVs, followed by EU (2.7 million) and the U.S. (1 million), while Japan sold just 0.1 million. 

The Japanese auto industries are trying to catch up the surge of EV demand, the media reported.


4.  Kishida Administration To Position AI In Its National Strategy


Yomiuri reported on April 26 that the Kishida Administration solidified its policy to establish “AI Strategic Roundtable” inviting as its members scholars, researchers, and legal experts, who are studying the potential benefit and risks of AI including generative AI such as ChatGPT.   

Since Japan is hosting this year’s G7 Digital and Technology Ministers Meeting on April 29 in Takasaki, Gunma Pref, Japan is expected to lead global discussion under the theme of how to realize “Responsible AI”. 

From the Kishida Cabinet, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (Mr. Matsumoto), Minister of Digital Transformation (Mr. Kono) and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (Mr. Nishimura) will attend and lead the G7 meetings. 

The meeting results will also be reflected in the discussion of the AI Strategic Roundtable.   


5.  Florida Governor DeSantis Visited Japan


PM Kishida received a courtesy visit by Florida Governor Ronald DeSantis on April 24 at PM’s residence.

The governor’s visit is recognized as a political demonstration of his interest in the 2024 Republican Presidential candidacy.  

PM Kishida explained about his view of the geopolitics of the east Asia and the necessity of strengthening the Japan-U.S. relationship for the regional stability.

Foreign Minister Hayashi hosted dinner for Governor DeSantis in the evening, Yomiuri reported.