01/14/2006 04:15 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Population Bust

(Tokyo) Japan's population has begun what is expected to be a hundred year plus downward spiral which will likely take it from a nation of 127 million today to 60 million or less by the year 2100. And if the trend continues there'll be one man or woman left standing on the Japanese archipelago when the year 2300 rolls around.

Many young women are choosing not to marry and those who are, are remaining childless or having one or two children. What happens when a nation loses over half of its population in a century? Japan is about to become the only nation in modern history to find out.

The Japanese government is pledging to take action but what to do? One local government thinks its found the solution by encouraging retailers within its city limits to offer familes with three or more children a 10% discount on all purchases. It's not clear yet whether Japan's liberal abortion laws, first passed in 1948 will need to be revised.

Though Japanese are vigorously pro-choice they also feel guilty enough about the procedure to pay a couple of thousand dollars a year to maintain graves which they visit and offer prayers to apease the spirits of the departed fetuses. But with roughly half of all abortions in Japan performed on married women in their 30's, it may be a matter of time before the government begins to crack down on such elective abortions in order to keep the Japanese race from extinction.