Japan faces ’extinction’ in 1,000 years 

◎陳成良

Japanese researchers on Friday unveiled a population clock that showed the nation’s people could become extinct in 1,000 years because of declining birth rates.

日本研究人員週五發布了一個人口時鐘,該時鐘顯示,由於出生率持續下降,日本人恐怕將於1000年內滅絕。

Academics in the northern city of Sendai said that Japan’s population of children aged up to 14, which now stands at 16.6 million, is shrinking at the rate of one every 100 seconds.

北部城市仙台的學者稱,日本14歲或以下兒童人口目前為1660萬,正在以每100秒1個的速度減少。

Their extrapolations pointed to a Japan with no children left within a millennium.

他們的推斷指出,日本在1000年之內將沒有兒童。

"If the rate of decline continues, we will be able to celebrate the Children’s Day public holiday on May 5, 3011 as there will be one child," said Hiroshi Yoshida, an economics professor at Tohoku University.

日本東北大學的經濟學教授吉田宏(譯音)說:「如果這種下降速度持續下去,3011年5月5日我們仍能慶祝兒童節,因為還剩下一名兒童。」

"But 100 seconds later there will be no children left," he said. "The overall trend is towards extinction, which started in 1975 when Japan’s fertility rate fell below two."

「但再過100秒,日本將沒有兒童」,他說。「自從1975年日本生育率降到每名育齡婦女兩個孩子以內,走向滅絕便成了總體趨勢。」

Yoshida said he created the population clock to encourage "urgent" discussion of the issue.

吉田說,他創立這個人口時鐘是為了鼓勵人們「緊急」展開關於這一問題的討論。

Another study released earlier this year showed Japan’s population is expected to shrink to a third of its current 127.7 million over the next century.

今年稍早公布的另一項研究顯示,下世紀日本人口將縮減到現有1.277億人口的3分之1。

新聞辭典

population clock:名詞,人口時鐘。

academic:名詞,學者;大學教師。它的複數academics有兩個意思,一為「學者;教師」,另一為「學科;學術課程」。當形容詞用的academic比名詞要來得常用許多,意為「大學的,學院的;學術的,學術性的;善於學習的」。例句:This school is the largest academic institution in Taiwan.(這所學校是台灣最大的學術機構。)

extrapolation:名詞,推斷。動詞為extrapolate。例句:One can extrapolate the size of the building from the measurements of an average room.(從一間屋子的量度可以推斷出整座建築物的大小。)

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