Musk’s ‘Japan will cease to exist’ tweet provokes anger, but not just at him | World News


Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet on Japan’s low birthrate triggered a flood of sarcasm and anger as the billionaire suggested that the island nation will “eventually cease to exist” if the current trend continues. Japan’s population peaked in 2008 and has been on a decline since then due to the low total fertility rate (TFR).

Reacting to a report which said Japan’s population fell by a record 644,000 to 125.5 million in 2021, Musk tweeted: “At risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birth rate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. This would be a great loss for the world.”

Despite the Japanese government’s warnings and sporadic attempts to boost the birthrate, the TFR remains well below the replacement level of about 2.1 children per woman. While the tweet set off a flood of sarcasm and anger, much of the angst was aimed at a Japanese government which many said did little to address the issue.

“What is even the point of tweeting this?” wrote Tobias Harris, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

“The anxieties surrounding Japan’s demographic future is not that ‘Japan will eventually cease to exist’ but rather the profound social dislocations that are occurring as a result of the decline to a lower population level.”

Some users noted that the issue of sluggish birthrate plague many nations besides Japan, including Germany – where Tesla has just opened a new factory. Japanese commentators said the situation was not surprising as they slammed the government for not doing enough to fight it, reported Reuters.

“They keep saying the birthrate’s falling, but given that the government isn’t taking thorough steps to deal with it, what can we say? Everything they say and do is contradictory,” wrote Twitter user SROFF.

“In this environment, who’s going to say ‘Okay, let’s have a child’? I despair for Japan.”


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