Asia, News Watch, Side Feature

Japan and China’s Demographic Crisis: TheSecular Society is Frustrated and is Having Fewer Marriages and Fewer Children

Japan and China have now been worried about the decline of their populations as a result of fewer babies being born and the rise of their aging populations. Japan is now the world’s most rapidly declining population. There were fewer than 800,000 babies born last year. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio stressed in his speech that the birth rate had fallen “to the brink of not being able to maintain a functioning society.” The fertility rate is also declining year by year, reaching 1.30 in 2021.

The Japanese government has attempted to address this issue by providing financial assistance for child rearing, preschool education, nursing care services, and workplace reforms. The government also provides financial incentives for the baby, including financial support to help cover the cost of postnatal necessities such as strollers, diapers, and infant formula.

The same condition is faced by China. The country’s population fell to 1.411 billion in 2022, down some 850,000 people from the previous year. China’s elderly now make up nearly a fifth of its population, that it could be heading down a similar path to Japan.

The China government has also tried to boost birth rates by designing a policy to do so, and bring down the costs of pregnancy and childbirth, child rearing, and schooling, including formulating a national strategy in response to population aging, developing elderly care programs and services, and providing better services for elderly people who live alone. Some areas in China have even begun to offer cash incentives and real estate subsidies in order to encourage more births. (Sources: CNN, The Diplomat)

The decline of population is not actually happening to only China and Japan; it happens worldwide, especially in the Western world, in Europe, America, and Australia. The reasons are quite the same: the high cost of living, the lack of child care support from states that make it difficult to raise children, fewer job opportunities, lower wages, tiring work hours, and the lack of supportive policies in those countries for married people such as maternal and parental leave. One of the most influential factors is the free-living cultures of the Western world, which includes Japan and China.

Based on these factors, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, for these countries to solve the demographic crisis. Only giving financial incentives is not enough in a very difficult economic condition and a liberal society. The solution is only to change the state system that becomes the root problem of this declining population problem, which is the secular ideology.

Secularism, as its character, prevents state to fully manage its society to bring them in well and prosperous society. What we can see is a society that is less protected by the state for almost every single thing related to their needs: health, home, and job, let alone morality. It then creates a frustrated society, which leads to fewer marriages and fewer children.

All calamities and disasters that occur on this earth, according to Islam, are the result of men’s wrongdoing. So going back to Islam is the only solution to this problem. Islam has regulated that a state should provide for the basic needs of its citizens, not only for material needs but also for spiritual needs. It can then result in a good quality of society, and all crises can be easily prevented. Remember what Allah has mentioned in Surah Ar-Rum, 41:

[ظَهَرَ ٱلۡفَسَادُ فِي ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِي ٱلنَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعۡضَ ٱلَّذِي عَمِلُواْ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ]

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned], so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].”

Aswar Anas