Diaper-free for children, made for adults in Japan

A diaper manufacturer in Japan has announced that they will cease production of diapers for children in the country. Instead, they will focus on producing diapers for adults.

Several companies in the country had previously hinted at such a decision. They attribute this decision to Japan’s declining birth rate and rapidly aging population.

For over a decade, Japan has seen an increase in the sale of diapers for adults annually, surpassing those for children. In 2023, Japan experienced a 5.1% decline in the birth rate, marking a record low in the country’s history. In the 1970s, Japan had a birth rate of over 20 million.

The company making the announcement, Oji Holdings, stated that they currently produce 400 million diapers annually. This is a significant decrease from the 700 million produced in 2001. They also noted that the sale of diapers for children has been decreasing steadily since 2000.

In 2011, Uni-Charm, Japan’s largest diaper manufacturer, had stated that their sales of adult diapers exceeded those for children. The adult diaper market in Japan is estimated to be worth around 2 billion dollars. Japan has one of the highest proportions of elderly citizens globally, with 30% of its total population aged 65 or older. Last year, for the first time, the population aged over 80 exceeded 10% of the total population.

Japan’s population is not increasing, and each year it is decreasing. This demographic trend has become a crisis for the country’s economy. Efforts by the Japanese government to encourage childbirth and support child-rearing have had limited success so far.

Experts suggest that factors such as low marriage rates and greater female participation in the workforce, leading to increased child-rearing costs, are discouraging Japanese women from having children. However, Japan is not alone in this trend. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea are also experiencing declining birth rates.

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