The future of Japan, as seen through the NRI Future Timeline: 2018-2100
Since 2005, Nomura Research Institute (NRI) has created and announced an NRI Future Timeline® every year. These timelines organize the various things that are expected or predicted to happen in the upcoming years into categories like “politics/society,” “economy/industry,” “international,” etc., and also include NRI’s predictions for the future. This year, NRI has announced the NRI Future Timeline: 2018-2100, which provides our outlook on the future, all the way up until the year 2100. In this article we discuss the future of Japan as seen through this timeline, and think about the things we need to consider to develop into a society that cultivates hope across all generations.
Are we living in the future as we predicted 5 years ago?
In 2012’s NRI Future Timeline, we predicted that ICT would be fully integrated into fields of social infrastructure like energy, housing, cars, and health care by 2017, and that there would be a new business model that would help drive the development of the electronics industry.
Currently, in the automobile field, there is a significant push from both the public and private sector to get autonomous cars ready by 2020. There is large-scale verification testing underway on highways, and in some areas, even verification testing of remote-control automated driving systems on public roads. Innovative new businesses are cropping up in the fields of banking, securities, and insurance that utilize what is known as FinTech, a combination of the words “finance” and “technology.” The financial industry, seeking to incorporate new technologies to find their way out of difficulty, is very quickly coming up with new services that utilize digital technologies like fund management tools, electronic authentication, and electronic currency. In Japan, there has been a push towards implementing a registration system for FinTech companies by Spring 2018, and abolishing the currently excessive (compared to international standards) regulations against them, to enhance the international competitiveness of Japanese companies.
What does the “Future Timeline” tell us?
When we consider the long-term future of Japan, all the way up until the year 2100, the most important issueis the change of demographic composition.
The world’s population is expected to expand to 9.8 billion by 2050, 10 billion by 2055, and 11.2 billion by 2100. On the other hand, Japan, with its rapidly shrinking and aging population, is expected to see its population decrease to 119.2 million by 2050, crack 100 million by 2053, and decline to 59.72 million by 2100—approximately half of what it was at its peak. Add to that the fact that, by this time, more than 40% of the population will be composed of elderly people, and it is obvious that society will be very different from how it is now.