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Japan's low birthrate is usually seen as a serious problem that needs to be urgently addressed. However, it need not all be doom and gloom. Take the environment. A low birthrate will eventually lead to a smaller population. In a densely populated country such as Japan, this will mean more living space and therefore less stress for citizens, and it will put less pressure on the natural environment and natural resources. A declining population will also reduce the size of Japan's economy. However, many countries with small populations, such as those in Scandinavia, have thriving smallerscale economies. What is more, they have very high living standards. Japan should model itself on such countries as its economy shrinks in size. Finally, it is true that Japan's population is aging. However, senior citizens have a wealth of skills to offer, both in the workplace and in the community at large. This means they will need to play a pivotal role in contributing to the well-being of a society that has fewer young people. Those who see a declining birthrate as having potential benefits may be in the minority, but if the current trend continues, an older, smaller population is inevitable. We must find ways to embrace it, not fear it.
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