Diaper company switches to adult diapers as fertility crashes in Japan

China, gene therapy, newborn, abortion pill reversal, diaper

As Japan continues to grapple with plummeting birth rates, a diaper company has stopped manufacturing diapers for babies and is now making adult diapers instead.

Oji Holdings issued a press release announcing the change in its business operations, saying it had “decided to terminate the domestic disposal diaper business for babies.” Instead, it will begin focusing on the adult diaper business, “where growth is anticipated.”

A spokesperson said the company will continue to sell baby diapers until the existing stock is depleted. “Demand for baby diapers is decreasing because of factors including the falling birthrate,” the spokesperson said.

The BBC reported that sales of baby diapers have been lower than sales of adult diapers for over a decade. In 2023, there were 758,631 babies born – a 5% decrease from the year before, and the lowest number since the 19th century. And Oji Holdings isn’t the only company to notice that adult diaper sales were growing; Unicharm, Japan’s biggest diaper company, said adult diapers have been outselling baby diapers since 2011.

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According to the World Economic Forum, over 10% of the population in Japan is aged 80 or older, while a third of the population is over the age of 65. By 2022, almost half of the Japanese workforce was over the age of 70.

Japanese officials have been sounding the alarm about the country’s plummeting birth rate. “The declining birthrate is in a critical situation,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said. “The next six years or so until 2030, when the number of young people will rapidly decline, will be the last chance to reverse the trend.”

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, meanwhile, has called for the government to double its spending on programs relating to children and families. “Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society,” he said in a speech to lawmakers. “Focusing attention on policies regarding children and child-rearing is an issue that cannot wait and cannot be postponed.”

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