scorecardJapan is producing so few babies that a leading diaper maker is pivoting to adults
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Japan is producing so few babies that a leading diaper maker is pivoting to adults

Joshua Zitser   

Japan is producing so few babies that a leading diaper maker is pivoting to adults
Retail2 min read
  • A Japanese company plans to halt baby diaper production in favor of adult diapers.
  • The shift in business strategy is due to Japan's declining birth rate and aging population.

A Japanese diaper maker announced that it will stop producing diapers for babies and will, instead, focus on catering to the country's aging population with adult nappies.

Oji Holdings, which primarily produces paper products, said in a statement that it will stop producing disposable diapers for babies in September this year.

Instead, domestically, it will strengthen the adult disposable diaper business.

The company said in the statement that this is a strategic move as it intends to concentrate investments on businesses with "high profitability and growth potential."

According to BBC News, sales of adult nappies have outpaced those for babies in Japan for the first time in over a decade.

This comes as the number of babies born in Japan sunk to a record low last year, falling for an eighth consecutive year to 758,631, according to Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry.

Concerns over the implications of a declining birth rate have led to Japanese officials sounding the alarm.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi warned last month that the situation was "critical" and there was little time to reverse the trend.

Japan's prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said last year that his country was on the brink of being unable to function as a society because of the declining birth rate.

The country's demographic challenges go far beyond declining birthrates. It's also grappling with a rapidly aging population.

Last year, for the first time, more than one in 10 Japanese people were aged 80 or over, according to national data.

The United Nations Population Division noted that Japan has the oldest population in the world, with 29.9% of the 125 million population being 65 or over.

Low birth rates and an aging population risk dramatically shrinking Japan's population, which is estimated to fall by about 30% to 87 million by 2070, The Guardian reported.

Oji Holdings' pivot due to shifting demographics mirrors a similar move made by Unicharm, Japan's biggest diaper maker, over a decade ago.

According to Bloomberg, Unicharm said in 2011 that its sales of adult diapers surpassed those for babies.




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