Yokosuka, Japan – Ever since her elderly neighbor moved a decade ago, Yoriko Haneda has done what she could to keep the empty house she left behind from becoming an eyesore. Haneda regularly trims its shrubs and clips its narrow strip of grass, maintaining its perfect view of the sea.The volunteer yard work has not extended to the house two doors down, however. That one is vacant too, and overgrown with bamboo. In fact, dozens of houses in this hillside neighborhood about an hour’s drive from Tokyo are abandoned.
“There are empty houses everywhere, places where nobody’s lived for 20 years, and more are cropping up all the time,” said Haneda, 77, complaining that thieves had broken into her neighbor’s house twice and that a typhoon had damaged the roof of the one next to it.
Despite a deeply rooted national aversion to waste, discarded homes are spreading across Japan like a blight in a garden. Long-term vacancy rates have climbed significantly higher than in the United States or Europe, and some eight million dwellings are now unoccupied, according to a government count. Nearly half of them have been forsaken completely – neither for sale nor for rent, they simply sit there, in varying states of disrepair.
These ghost homes are the most visible sign of human retreat in a country where the population peaked a half-decade ago and is forecast to fall by a third over the next 50 years. The demographic pressure has weighed on the Japanese economy, as a smaller workforce struggles to support a growing proportion of the old, and has prompted intense debate over long-term proposals to boost immigration or encourage women to have more children.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
If Only Japan Had A Border With Mexico...
There are consequences to deciding that reproduction is unneeded. This country, by deciding that children did not matter in 1973, wiped out a whole generation of kids that would have ended up doing the jobs that increasingly done by illegal immigrants, and made blacks a shrinking minority.