Population structure and generations - Who buys more?

Japan is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. The population structure is so called reverse-pyramid and most populous segment may not be your business target. You should reseach generations if you start business in Japan.

Japanese population pyramid

General aspects - The average life span is around 80. The birthrate have been below 2.0 for years. Less new borns with more long-lived elders. The last factor of population increase is inflow of people form other countries but Japan is not immigrant country. Of course, there are some illegal residents but it does not help or be a problem at all, like other countries connected by land, such as the US and EU countries. It is very difficult to get the nationality unless you were born with both Japanese parents. Although you sought political asylum, the government would deny. Refugees might stay for just certain time of period. Japanese government used to encouraged emigration to foreign countries as a national policy, sending many immigrants to Brazil, the United States, Peru, Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay and other countries because there were not much wealth in the country in Meiji era ( from 1868 ). It last even after the WWII. Japan will not change policy even the situation had been reversed. The bureaucrats does not want change any policy with any reason.

Baby boomers - Like other countries, after the WWII, baby boomers have arrived. They were born in 1947 to 1949. They are 60's now. Thanks for the miracle growth in 1960's, they have now full filled pension, savings and personal asset as well. Their children were also forming the 2nd baby boomers, born in 1971 to 1974. They are the most wealthy people and have had everything already. It may be difficult to know what they want. The keywords are health and experience. They don't want to live just long but quality of life. Sports and medical support would be a good field for those company try to do business in Japan.

Japanese nurses and babies in 1930s

Prodigal - The next promising group is "Baburu-sedai" ( Bubble generation ). They have experienced and enjoyed the party time. Though they knew hard time after the mess, they still miss that period. They were full time worker at that time, from 1986 to 1992, and spending as much money as they wanted because they knew they could earn as much. It was true that some of them spent money in ridiculous ways. They knew the taste of the honey and it is difficult to change one's habit. They are ready to spend. They liked European luxuries, designer's brand clothes, cars and watches as well as dinner at expensive restaurants. Japanese saving rate decreased for the first time in record at that time.

Younger - Struggling situation in Japan continues ever since the bubble economy ended. Younger people do not know what good economic condition means. There was IT bubble in 2000's but was short. Money worshipers had appeared and were believed to change the situation but it lasted short. It left only ethically problematic business persons.

The worse thing was that a more relaxed education policy hit this generation. The policy take their academic ability away so quickly. Japanese position in PISA2 dropped significantly. They studied and think less and act involuntary. It must be hard for them to survive this situation.

It is not as bad as it looks, to be farnk. They just have started to earn money. They can not be the richest generations and it is true all over the world.


1. History of immigration to Brazil ( in Japanese )
3. National Institute of Population and Social Security Research

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