Japan's demographic problem can affect Asia

Against the very positive report about Japan's contributions to Asean by Professor Tommy Koh (Asean and Japan: Neighbours, friends , partners; June 9), I cannot help feeling sad this will not continue if the nation strolls into mediocrity one day, as is very likely to happen, because of its fast-declining population and its intransigence in accepting foreigners to make up for it.

A multiracial Japan is simply not imaginable.

Baby bonuses - which is the Japanese solution to this problem - will not turn things around.

Worse, as the worker to senior citizen support ratio hits 1.3 by 2060, young English-speaking Japanese will probably emigrate.

We must hope there will be political will to solve Japan's demographic problem, which must include attracting immigrants, or its future will be very grim.

It cannot wait for another 10 to 15 years or it may be too late to recover.

Its leaders must recognise that all its other problems pale in comparison.

We, in Asean, must wish Japan well, as a less-dynamic Japan will leave us worse off. Japan must not stroll into mediocrity.

Wong Horng Ginn