OPINION | EDITORIAL: Wanted: people

In Canada and Japan, apply within

The world may be letting off the gas a little in terms of its population growth rate, but that doesn't mean certain nations aren't struggling with issues related to placement. Or replacement.

Japan is increasing financial incentives already in place for citizens in the Tokyo metro to relocate to rural areas that are becoming more rural each year.

The Japanese government now offers $7,700 per child for eligible families from the capital region to move to a "disadvantaged local area," per the wire services. That's up from the previous incentive of $2,290 per child.

A challenging combination of a low national birth rate, a long life expectancy for Japanese, and rapid depopulation from rural areas as youth chase jobs and opportunities in the cities has led to many rural Japanese communities starting to resemble ghost towns and facing dwindling tax revenues.

The Arkansas Delta says hello.

The relocation initiative began in 2019 and applied to families living in the Tokyo metro for at least five years. Its first year, the program enticed 71 families to move. Last year, that number was up to 1,184 families.

We suspect that tripling the financial incentive to move may entice more families to brave the wilds of rural Japan.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Pacific, Canada wants more people and is actively recruiting them. And it doesn't seem to care whether they live in the suburbs of Toronto or the high plains of Saskatchewan.

The Great White North set a record for new permanent arrivals last year. More than 431,000 arrived at the border, welcome bags filled with new tuuks, a Molson, and a binding pledge not to ruffle feathers.

The current goal is an immigrant infusion of 465,000 permanent residents by the end of 2023 and 500,000 in 2025. The wire services say the policy has coincided with record population growth and decline in the country's median age. Seems to be working.

Immigration now accounts for about three-fourths of the country's overall population growth and almost all of its labor-force growth. Last census count, nearly a quarter of Canadian citizens were or had been considered landed immigrants or permanent residents.

A word to prospective new Canadians: Learn to love hockey and don't dare complain about covid restrictions or vaccines. That renowned Canadian politeness only goes so far.

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