Tweeting about Japan's Extinction, Elon Musk Blamed


Elon Musk is back in controversy for his tweets. This time he was criticized for saying Japan would become extinct unless they tackled a declining birth rate.

"Unless they change something to cause birth rates to exceed death rates, Japan will eventually disappear," Musk said in a tweet.

"This will be a huge loss for the world," he continued.

The tweet was Musk's response to a report by the Japanese government about the national population falling to 644,000 last year. This is a new record for Japan, which has experienced a population decline for 11 consecutive years.

Japan's population peaked in 2008 and continues to decline annually to around 125 million people in 2021. Although Japan recorded 831,000 births last year, the number still lags behind the death toll of 1.44 million.

Musk's tweet was immediately criticized by netizens and Japanese observers on Twitter. Some say that Japan is not the only developed country experiencing population declines, and point to Germany as another example.

"What's the point of this tweet? The anxiety around Japan's demographic future is not about 'Japan will eventually disappear' but about the deep social dislocation that has resulted from the decline to lower population levels," said Center for American Progress analyst Tobias Harris.

"Wages and disposable income have been declining for 20-30 years in Japan besides how 40% of employees are part-time workers with lower wages. How can they get married and have children?" said Twitter user @yone_maca.

There are also netizens who took advantage of Musk's tweet to quip the Japanese government for not having real solutions to address the low birth rate, for example by providing more child care centers and making it easier for women to return to work after having children.

"They keep saying the birth rate is dropping, but given the government is not taking comprehensive steps to address it, what can we say? Everything they say and do is contradictory," another Twitter user said.

Elon Musk himself has several times expressed concern about the declining global population. The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla once said that many smart people think the world is full and the population is growing out of control.

"It's the complete opposite. If people don't have more children, civilization will collapse. Remember my word," Musk said while speaking at last year's Wall Street Journal event.

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