Japan’s workforce set to halve in farm sector in 2040: report

TOKYO, Jan. 16 ― The Japanese government’s new labor projection suggests that the workforce in the farm sector may shrink by more than half in 2040, if there were no growth in the country’s economy and no action to increase of working women and older workers.

Low birth rates have left Japan with one of the world’s oldest and fastest ageing populations.

A report released on Jan. 15 by the labor ministry’s commission on workforce said that the number of workers in the agriculture sector would drop from 2.2 million in 2017 to 1 million in 2040.

The entire Japanese workforce would fall 22 percent to 52.5 million in 2040, down from 65.3 million in 2017, according to the report.

The report stressed: “Japan needs to improve productivity and increase participation of women and older people in the workforce.”

The report was released at a time when controversial immigration rules come into effect on April 1 to accept more foreign blue-collar workers in Japan. But the projection doesn’t take account of foreign workers under the new immigration scheme in the report.

The new rules create work visas for foreign workers to tackle labor shortages in 14 sectors, including agriculture, aged-care nursing, and construction, in the face of the country’s aging population.

The overall population is expected to fall from 126.7 million in 2017 to 110 million in 2040, the report said.

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