The Demographic Issue and Silver Democracy

  • Kato Sota


Having become the majority, the elderly exploit young people and the next generation. This is the problem of the so-called silver democracy. Can democracy fully function in an environment where the population is declining? We consider the changes necessary to avoid such future intergenerational conflicts.


  1. d’Addio, Anna Cristina & Marco Mira d’Ercole. (2005). Trends and Determinants of Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: The Role of Policies. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Paper No.27 (November)., accessed on February 27, 2017.
  2. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. (1998). To build a society in which homes can be created and children can be reared with hopes for the future (Proposals) (Yumearu katei zukuriya kosodategadekiru shakai wo kizukutameni (Teian)). (White paper, Council of Experts Considering Responses to the Declining Birth Rate)., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  3. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. (2004). White paper on measures for a society with a decreasing birth rate FY2004 (Heisei 16 nenban shoshika taisaku hakusho).., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  4. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. (2013). A 2013 declining birthrate white paper.., accessed on September 25, 2016.
  5. Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. (2015). A 2015 declining birthrate white paper.., accessed on September 25, 2016.
  6. Economic Planning Agency. (1992). Whitepaper on national lifestyle (Kokumin seikatsu hakusho).., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  7. Ferguson, M.L. (2012). Sharing Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, & James Madison. (1788). “The same subject continued (The union as a safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection).” The Federalist Papers, No.10. - link2H_4_0010, accessed on September 25, 2016.
  9. Ibori, Toshihiro & Shiro Doi. (1998). An economic analysis of Japanese politics. Tokyo: Bokutaku-sha.Google Scholar
  10. IPSS. (1993). Report (Hokokusho).., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  11. IPSS. (2013). Regional Population Projection for Japan, 2010–2040.., accessed on September 25, 2016.
  12. IPSS. (2014). Social security in Japan 2014., accessed on October 11, 2016.
  13. Kato, S. (2014). Valley of institutional change: Japanese political economy 1990–2005. US Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Papers.Google Scholar
  14. Kawai, Ran. (2014). Interview with Ato Makoto: Want to know more about declining birthrates (Yappari shiritai shoshika no hanashi).., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  15. Kiriyama, Keiichi. (2010, May). Disparities in the value of one vote enter an era of a twofold disparity as the unconstitutionality threshold (Ippyo no kakusa, iken-rain wa nibaijidai e). Sekai No. 804.Google Scholar
  16. Komiya, Ryutaro. (2008, August 14). Economic lecture (keizai kyoshitsu). Nikkei Shimbun (morning edition).Google Scholar
  17. Masuda, Hiroya. (2014). Extinction of the regions: rapid decrease in population caused by population concentration in Tokyo (Chiho shometsu: Tokyo ikkyoku shuchu ga maneku jinko kyugen). Tokyo: Chuo Koron Shinsha.Google Scholar
  18. MHW. (1989). Ten-year strategy for promoting health and welfare of the elderly. Japan social security documents IV (19802000) (Koreisha hoken fukushi suishin jukkanen senryaku)., accessed on September 25, 2016 (in Japanese).
  19. MHW. (1990). Hearing about future of Japan’s family and childcare (Korekarano kazoku to kosodate ni kansuru kondankai hokokusho)., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  20. MHW. (1994). Basic orientation of future measures to support childcare (Kongo no kosodateshien no tameno shisaku no kihonteki hoko ni tsuite)., accessed on September 25, 2016 (in Japanese).
  21. Nikkei. (2012, November 26). Will policy prioritizing the elderly change? Nikkei Shimbun.Google Scholar
  22. Olson, Mancur. (1965). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Piketty, Thomas. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century. Cambridge MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Putnam, Robert D., Robert Leonardi, & Raffaella Nanetti. (1992). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Takeuchi, Kan. (2013). Who should be the focus?: the elderly or future generations? Chuokoron 128(4), 120–123.Google Scholar
  26. de Tocqueville, Alexis. (2003 [1835]). Jerald E. Bevan, tr. Democracy in America and two essays on America. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  27. Walker, J.L. (1974, September). Performance gaps, policy research, and political entrepreneurs: Toward a theory of agenda setting. Policy Studies Journal 3(1), 112–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yashiro, Naohiro. (2016). Cut a swathe into “silver democracy” by cutting down on social insurance expenditures instead of raising taxes (Zozei no kawarini shakaihoshohi sakugen dankode “shiruba minshushugi ni kirikome”). Diamond Online, June 1., accessed on September 25, 2016. (in Japanese).
  29. Yashiro, Naohiro, Manabu Shimasawa, & Nao Toyoda. (2012 July). Overcoming inter-generational conflict through the social security system: beyond silver democracy, NIRA monograph series No.34., accessed on February 20, 2017. (in Japanese).

Copyright information

© Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kato Sota
    • 1
  1. 1.International University of JapanTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations