The Stanford Center of Longevity
recently held a conference about ageing in Asia. Many of the Powerpoint
presentations are available its website. One that interested me was a bleak snapshot of
Japan (huge download, by the way). A few facts:

* There are 12 million "parasite singles" (below 35)

* Since the early 1990s, the proportion of single women who are not dating
has been stable around 45%

* The number of Japanese children is about 17 million; the number of Japanese
pets is about 25 million. Water for humans costs about 100 yen for 2 litres;
water for pets sells at about 900 yen.

However, the scariest graph of all is below. It shows the proportion between
children, productive adults and retired adults. How will Japan hold itself


Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.