Futuribles Journal n° 216

Population - Société, modes de vie

Évolution de la société japonaise et des valeurs


Evolution of Japanese Society and Values
The Japanese model has been built by imitating and rejecting the Western model. Today the question is whether Japan is capable of equipping itself with a cohesive and meaningful identity, while having to face three fundamental challenges.
The first of these challenges is the result of an accelerated aging of its population brought about by a drastic demographic shift. According to É. Seizelet, this aging will have important social and economic consequences: an increase in social expenditures to the detriment of investment, loss of international dynamism, political conservatism...
The second concerns immigration, to which Japan has always been hostile, but which will become a necessity, if only to compensate for the effects of aging. The issue of integrating foreign populations will then arise: be it the assimilatative model "à la française", Anglo-Saxon "multi-culturalism" or an original Japanese model which is yet to be invented.
The third is the transition from a hierarchical and authoritarian system of values to a liberal and individualistic model. The coming of "post-materialist" values in a country still vulnerable to natural disasters (Kobe) and marked by the rise of information and communication technologies, risks creating mounting tension between the post-modern vision of a techno-scientific nation and the nostalgia of its old "peasant soul".

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