- Complete Lesson One: Japan’s Demographic Challenges and Human Capital Issues (all readings, one required question, and one optional question)
- Choose between EITHER Lesson Two OR Lesson Three (all readings, one required question, and one optional question).
Your answers to both questions should range from 250 to 500 words (about two, double-spaced pages in 12-point font). The 250 to 500 word guideline is the total for both essays. Please submit your answers to me as an email attachment. Please enter Japan’s Demographics in the subject line of your e-mail.
This lesson has two aims. The first is to examine Japan’s current and projected demographic problems. The second is to analyze how these issues influence Japan’s human capital and economic growth. Human capital essentially can be defined as the measure of education, experience, and skills in a country’s workforce.
Japan’s meteoric economic growth from roughly 1950 through 1990 was based on developing increasingly sophisticated exports, a progression from products such as textiles to steel to automobiles and consumer electronics (e.g., the Walkman and flat-panel televisions).
Since 1990, however, Japan has experience an extended economic malaise. There was a slight export-led rebound from 2003, yet the current global economic downturn has negatively impacted Japan’s economy.
After examining the following readings and/or Web sites listed below, answer the first question and one of the final two questions.
- (required) In what ways have these readings increased your understanding of Japan’s population changes and how it impacts economic growth?
- (optional) How can you share these materials with your students and how can these materials be integrated into your lesson plans?
- (optional) If you are not able to use these materials in your own class, how might you share it with other teachers in your school?
When addressing the above questions for this lesson, consider:
- What are the current and future (projected) trends for Japan’s workforce?
- Why would Japan need additional human capital (especially once the current recession ends)?
- Why is human capital important, keeping in mind the products that we purchase from Japan?
- Is there resistance to immigration in Japan? Why or why not?
Examine the image on the right, taken in a subway station in Nagoya, Japan. Nagoya and its region are home to some of the Japanese industrial leaders, such as Toyota and its suppliers. Some of the languages include Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, yet note the use of Portuguese and Spanish.
||Photo courtesy of Ron Kalafsky.