When will Japan start accepting immigrants?

politics : UN experts see migration as a solution for declining and aging populations

The report cites raising the retirement age or reducing pensions as alternatives. Bavaria's Interior Minister criticized the idea of ​​the UNAndrea Dernbach

In the face of declining population, United Nations experts believe that Europe should consider accepting significantly more immigrants than before. Germany alone needs 500,000 immigrants per year, according to estimates for the UN report "Replacement Migration: A Solution for a Declining and Aging Population?", Which is due to be published in March. For the Federal Republic this would mean that the annual number of immigrants would have to increase more than tenfold. According to the UN figures, the number of inhabitants in Germany will fall from the current 82 million to 73 million in the next fifty years.

In 1998, only 47,000 more people moved to Germany than the country lost to emigration. Two years earlier, according to the figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the immigration surplus was still 282,000 people, in 1997 it was only around 94,000.

Joseph Chamie, director of population affairs at the UN, said the report is likely to spark a heated debate in Europe. He referred to surveys in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France, in which many respondents spoke out against the arrival of migrants. For their part, European politicians feared rising unemployment and resistance from trade unions who opposed the immigration of cheaper labor. "But you have to start dealing with it now. The longer you wait, the more serious the problem becomes."

Chamie emphasized, however, that the UN would not recommend a large influx of migrants to the states of Europe and Japan, where a decline in population is also expected. The planned report only serves to show the consequences of the current immigration rates. There are only three solutions: "Raise the retirement age, cut pensions, increase payments, or change the whole system." Demographers could only point to trends: If there are no immigrants and the birth rate remains low as forecast, a smaller, older population must be expected. The ratio of people of working age to people over 65 in Europe is currently five to one, and by 2050 it will be two to one. The planned UN report examined the situation in eight countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Great Britain and the USA.

The spokesman for the Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein (CSU), who had spoken out several times in the past to limit immigration to Germany, criticized the UN's calculations yesterday. He told the Tagesspiegel that it shows "blinkers to see such questions only in terms of pension insurance law." Aspects such as social peace and the possibilities of integrating migrants here were not taken into account. In the office of the federal government's commissioner for foreigners, Marieluise Beck (Greens), it was said that they would first wait for the report to be published.

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