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Japan Gets Even Older...And More Single

TOKYO- Japan's demographic woes keep multiplying.

The number of children under 15 has dropped for the 31st year in a row, down 120,000 from last year reports the Japan Times. The ratio of children to the overall population fell to an all time low of 13%, showing Japan's ageing population is definitely not getting any younger. The newborn-to 2-year-olds group was aptly the tiniest group - representing 3.1 million out of 16.6 million children.

The steepest fall was unsurprisingly in Fukushima prefecture, where the number of children shrank by 13,000 near the nuclear plant.

Another worrying trend to come out of Japan this week, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun, is that the percentage of people unmarried at the age of 50 rose to a record high of 20.1% among men and 10.6% among women. The biggest proportion of unmarried people is the 25-29 age group, where 71.8% of men and 60.3% of women are shying away from wedded bliss.

The Mainichi adds another nail to Japan's coffin, reporting that there are 3 million middle-aged so-called "parasite singles' in Japan, that is to say unmarried and unemployed people between 35 and 44 who still live with their parents. "If the number of people who cannot care for themselves increases," worries Chuo University Professor Masahiro Yamada, "the birthrate could decline further."


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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia And Belarus Are Cracking Down On Exiles — And A Passport Fix To Fight Back

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is making it impossible for citizens who've fled the country to renew their passports, which will may make some effectively stateless. What are some possible solutions?

Photo of a customs official stamping a passport in Minsk, Belarus

Stamping passports in Minsk, Belarus

Boris Gorozovsky

Under strict new measures introduced by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, foreign embassies may no longer issue documents to Belarusians. This will make it impossible for Belarusians outside of the country to renew passports unless they return — which could lead to criminal prosecution for some who fled after the 2020 protests.

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Russia, on the other hand, has adopted a different approach to encourage the return of its citizens abroad. After considering a 30% tax on emigrants' income, they settled on a 13% personal income tax rate.

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