I am not going to say that I told you so (re point #2) but I told you so:
No. of January-June births in Japan increases for 1st time in 6 yrsSo much for a nation in perpetual decline.
The number of babies whose births were registered with local government offices in Japan between January and June increased for the first time in six years, according to a health ministry report released Monday.
A total of 549,255 babies were newly registered at municipal offices in the first half of this year, an increase by 11,618 from the same period last year, according to the ministry's preliminary figures.
An official at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Japan's overall fertility rate, which hit a record low of 1.25 last year, could turn upward in 2006 if the trend of increase in the number of births continues.
Japan's fertility rate, or the average number of children born to a woman aged between 15 and 49, hit an all-time low for the fifth year in a row in 2005, with fewer people getting married, marrying young and giving birth soon after marriage, the government announced in June.
The latest report also showed that the number of marriages registered between January and June was 367,965, up 10,936 cases from the same period last year, with cases registered in February reflecting an increase of about 5,000 from the same month last year.
With the increase in marriages, we should we start hoping for (expecting?) a further stabilization in population--with the consequent diminution of the predicted destruction wreaked in the Götterdammerung of "too many retirees supported by too few workers"?