Supporters and opponents of Abenomics may debate the metaphorical death of Japanese society as a result of the terminal hyper-Keynesian, hyper-monetarist policies implemented by Abe and Kuroda for the past 2 years until they are blue in the face, but when it comes to the literal death of Japan, there is no debate: as the FT succinctly puts it "deaths outnumbered births in Japan last year by the widest margin on record, underscoring the scale of the challenge facing the government as it tries to ensure a dwindling pool of workers can support growing ranks of pensioners."
Indeed, while Japan may or may not surive the collapse in the Yen, which will send the Nikkei225 soaring although nobody will be able to enjoy this unprecedented paper wealth because nobody can afford to eat, drive or heat their house, and all Japanese companies will be long bankrupt, it now looks almost certain that the death of Japanese society will not be due to a runaway printer, but due to, well, death itself.
As the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported earlier this week, while Japan recorded 1.001 million births in 2014, or the lowest number in recorded history, this was offset by 1.27 million deaths: also the highest on record.
It's only downhill from here. More from the FT:
[T]he broader demographic problems remain. Last weekend, as the government fulfilled an election pledge to present an extra spending package, it outlined plans to arrest population falls outside the major cities, challenging local authorities to boost births via support to women aged 20 to 39, the group most critical to rebuilding the population.
If the current nationwide fertility rate of 1.4 stays unchanged, a task force warned in November, then Japan’s population of 127m would drop by almost a third by 2060 and by two-thirds by 2110.
Even if the fertility rate were to rapidly rise to the replacement level of 2.07 by 2030 and then stay there, the population would keep falling for another 50 years before stabilising at a little less than 100m.
Relaxing the nation’s relatively strict controls on immigration could provide some relief, but Mr Abe has made it clear that he is “flatly opposed to opening the door”, said Masatoshi Kikuchi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.
Not surprisingly, the finance ministry declined to comment on the reported figures, ahead of the release of the draft budget around the middle of January.
Because what is there to comment? The data says it all.
And whatever you do, don't use the Birinyni extrapolation ruler here.