002 - Aging Societies

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Policies associated with managing population change, focusing on:

- policies related to aging societies

- pro-natalist or anti-natalist policies


The power of a government influences the possibility of the successful implementation of a population policy.


  • To be able to discuss the ‘possibilities’ and ‘power’ associated with the decision-making process when a country has the need to implement population policies.

  • To be able to describe and explain the possibilities and power involved in Japan’s aging population and their need for pro-natalist and aging population policy.

Key Terminology

            • Pro-natalist policy

            • Anti-natalist policy

Define the terms above by using the 'Useful Link' below:

Useful Link

Activity One - Describe

It is always good to start with a visual of the issue before we start to discuss any solutions. We are going to focusing on Japan and the general causes of the changes in population size.

      1. Using the graph below, describe the general trend in population size for Japan. Don't forget to use data.

      2. Read the article in the 'Useful Resources' box and add detail to your description of what is happening to Japan's total population.

      3. Using the second graph, describe the changes in the age dependency ratio for Japan.

      4. Using the third graph, describe the changes in the fertility rates in Japan.

      5. Describe the correlation between all three graphs.

Activity Two - Watch

You have hopefully now realised that there is a strong correlation between the dependent section of society and the decline in overall population in Japan. In fact it won't take many generations for the population to decline drastically due to the large amount of elderly residing in the country. Watch the BBC documentary 'No sex please, we're Japanese' and record the reasons why there has been a decline in births and a rise in the elderly. It is long so I am expecting lots of notes!

Activity Three - Pro-natalist policy - Japan

Now you know some of the issues that are caused by an ageing population you can understand why some countries may want to develop government led policies that hope to increase the fertility rates of women within their country. We are going to be sticking with Japan and will be investigating what they are doing and the subsequent reaction that people have to the changes. Answer the following questions using the resources in the 'Useful Resources' box:

      1. Describe what Japan is doing to tackle the problem of low birth rates.

      2. Read the first article and describe the reaction to a politician who is taking advantage of the paternity leave policy.

Activity Four - Ageing Society Policies

Creating policies that aim to increase the birth rates of a country is not the only way to tackle the issue. Relaxing a migration policy could help because as we have seen in the USA migrants from Latin America tend to have slightly larger families. There are other problems created by the growth of an ageing generation and the issues are as widespread care for the elderly to an increase in 'grey crime'. Read the articles below and make notes on the following points:

                • Care for the elderly

                • Rise in crime rates

                • Immigration policies

Exam Style Question

‘Solving the aging population in Japan is as simple as enforcing a two-child policy.’ Discuss this statement. [10 marks]

Google Document