Here's Why Japan's $US90 Billion 'Floating Train' Project May Be A Huge Waste

A proposed $US90 billion “floating train” that would connect Tokyo to Osaka in less than half of the current travel time is expected to be approved later this year, but the market for such a ride is dwindling.

The steep price tag for the train proposed by Central Japan Railway, one of the highest ever, Lily Kuo writes for Quartz, draws eyes to the shrinking population in Japan’s major cities.

By the time the train project is scheduled to be finished, 2045, Japan is projected to lose roughly a third of its population.

Japan’s population, which is hovering around 127 million, is expected to drop to 99.1 million by 2048, and 86.7 million by 2060, wrote Yoko Sudo in the Wall Street Journal.

Of 233 major nations, Japan ranks 210 in terms of population growth during 2014, according to the CIA. The nation also ranks 222 in birth rate and 208 in fertility rate. This chart posted by Quartz shows the declining population of Japan’s largest city:

As a whole, Japan lost 244,000 people in 2013, according to the BBC. The nation experienced a population boom following World War II and then another during the early 1970s. Since then, the population has been consistently dropping with each passing age group. As of 2014, 25.1% of Japan was over the age of 65. This chart from The Interpreter shows how the population of young people has been in decline for the better part of four decades:

In addition, the number of commuters travelling into Tokyo to work has been consistently dropping since reaching its peak in 1995. This chart of daytime population posted by Quartz illustrates the decline:

So although the train will cut off an hour of time between Tokyo and Osaka, the railway may have few riders by the time 2045 rolls around, right as Japan is set to dip below 100 million residents.

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