The first grade class at the elementary school in Nanmoku, about 85 miles from Tokyo, has just a single student this year. The local school system that five decades ago taught 1,250 elementary school children is now educating just 37. Many of the town’s elegant wooden homes are abandoned. Where generations of cedar loggers, sweet potato farmers and factory workers once made their lives, monkeys now reside. The only sounds at night are the cries of deer and the wail of an occasional ambulance.
Nanmoku’s plight is Japan’s fate. Faced with an aging society, a depopulating countryside and economic stagnation, the country has struggled for decades to address its challenges.… Seguir leyendo »