Geography in the news

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Thursday 27th November 2014

Keywords

Age sex pyramid | Population pyramid | Demography | Japan | Aging population

Japan’s rapidly aging population is producing some interesting new business opportunities, including a booming market for adult nappies/diapers.

The Nikkei newspaper reported on Thursday that three Japanese paper companies—Daio, and Nippon Paper—are expanding their manufacturing facilities for what are politely called “incontinence products” due to an expected surge in demand. The Nikkei said adult diapers are expected to outsell baby diapers in Japan by 2020, but according to Unicharm, Japan’s biggest diaper maker, the tipping point occurred in 2011.

Possible lesson ideas:

  1. Describe the three age sex pyramids.
  2. Which pyramid is most representative of the UK – they may need to be reminded as to the impact of immigration into the UK.
  3. What are the positive implications for the Japanese economy?  What are the growth areas?
  4. What are the negative implications for the Japanese economy? Students should be aware of the economic and social costs of an aging population, e.g students could be asked to dabate the 2013 statement by
  5. Provide a solution to the problem raised in Traphagen's quote in lesson idea 5.
  6. Students could be asked to construct a simplified 2014 age sex pyramid for Japan using the following estimated 2014 data from the CIA World fact Book:

Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.2% (male 8,681,728 / female 8,132,809)
15-24 years: 9.7% (male 6,429,429 / female 5,890,991)
25-54 years: 38.1% (male 23,953,64 / female 24,449,655)
55-64 years: 13.2% (male 8,413,872 / female 8,400,953)
65 years and over: 25.8% (male 14,218,655 / female 18,531,653)

A useful interactive population pyramid for both the world and individual countries is available  here.


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