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These countries can accelerate growth through the technological and policy reforms that have already been taken by developed economies. The implication of Singapore's demographic shift is already showing in its challenge to meet growth projections of 2. Singapore's fertility rate is the lowest in the world.

Changes Being Witnessed

But simply encouraging families to have more children to increase the working-age population is unlikely to yield the desired result. Efforts by Japan and some European countries to encourage higher fertility rates did not work. And for Asia as a whole, already grappling with severe urban overcrowding and acute resource constraints, higher fertility rates and a bigger population will further overwhelm capabilities to use scarce resources sustainably. The Philippines - a country with a high fertility rate - is an extreme case in point.

Some degree of automation is going to be inevitable to address declining working-age populations, but this is not the big fix. Japan's large-scale use of automation helped tackle labour shortages in its manufacturing sector. But a problem with automation is that it can be quickly deployed also in lower-wage sectors and economies, stoking unemployment.

It has also been shown to be less effective in education and healthcare, where personal interaction is at least as important as output delivery. A major demographic challenge East Asia faces is the longer life expectancy in the region and the resultant decline in the size of its working-age populations. People are living longer, to an average of 75 years in compared with 49 in , and three of the 10 economies with the longest life expectancy worldwide - Japan, Singapore and South Korea - are in the region. A better way forward is greater openness to labour immigration to fill crucial gaps.

For ageing societies, the influx of young workers can also ease strained pension systems and the burden of caring for the elderly. In the United States, over a third of the immigrants are skilled and meeting the country's economic needs. And it was immigrants who founded Google, Intel, PayPal, eBay and Yahoo, companies that have created thousands of jobs. Yet immigration, even in economies with acute labour shortages, is becoming increasingly unpopular.

The resistance is partly grounded on economic fears that immigrants will displace local workers. But this could be overcome if it is shown that immigrant workers contribute to the better economic performance of a sector or the country, as studies in the US have shown. High-priced agricultural products and other products that are included in them provide Japan with the opportunity for agricultural transformation; that is, a shift to offensive agriculture.

In addition, digital technologies that are evolving exponentially in large cities and their applications provide the opportunity to evolve value chains that are expanding in East Asia. In particular, start-ups emerging in large cities are the targets of open innovations. Of course, large East Asian cities are also tough competitors for Japan. But if Japan is slow, companies growing in large East Asian cities may get ahead in finding ways to solve the issues facing Japan. You should not underestimate the abilities of large cities. There is no doubt that these large cities will continue to drive Asian economies.

But it is too early to assume that the prosperity of the large cities will ripple throughout East Asia.

As noted above, the growth of large cities is based on their absorbing young people from the local regions and agricultural villages. As a result, the local regions and agricultural villages are short of young people to support their growth.

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In other words, the effect of the demographic dividends is lost before income levels rise sufficiently in the local regions and rural areas. In addition, because there are numerous middle-aged and older people from their late forties to their early fifties who are baby-boomers in the local regions and rural areas, population aging is likely to accelerate in the near future. In China, people discuss the issue of getting old before getting rich as an issue to be overcome in the future.

But this phenomenon is already occurring in the local regions and rural areas. This is also the case in East Asia. Japanese companies are expected to break away from the framework of countries, to regard large East Asian cities as places where high-end consumers live and places where digitized manufacturing and new services are produced, and to develop the strategy of facilitating their growth.

On the other hand, it is also necessary to focus on widening income gaps between large cities, local regions and rural areas in a coolheaded manner. If a well-balanced strategy can be developed, East Asian growth will provide Japanese companies with the opportunity for sustainable growth.

Building Connectivity and Capacity for the New Economy in East Asia

Courtesy of the author. Born in Japanese people have a high standard of living, and the country has been an industrial and financial engine for the Pacific Rim The coastal lands bordering the Pacific Ocean. Balancing out the advances of the economic tigers and Japan is the extensive labor base of the Chinese people, which has catapulted the Chinese economy to its position as a major player in the global economy.

Left behind in the region is North Korea, which has isolated itself behind an authoritarian dictatorship since World War II.

The 4 Asian tigers economy growth

A number of countries that were former enemies in World War II are now trading partners e. However, cultural and political differences between these countries remain. East Asia is home to one-fifth of the human population. The location of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, just off the coast of mainland China, creates an industrial environment that has awakened the human entrepreneurial spirit of the realm. Manufacturing has fueled the high-tech engines of the Pacific Rim economies, which have recently taken advantage of the massive labor pool of the Chinese heartland. The Russian realm to the north of East Asia—especially its Pacific port of Vladivostok—continues to actively engage the East Asian nations.

Figure Second row: Macau, Hong Kong, and Tibet.

Identifying the Boundaries

Third row: Taiwan, Japan, and Mongolia. East Asia is surrounded by a series of mountain ranges in the west, Mongolia and Russia in the north, and Southeast Asia to the south. The Himalayan Mountains are among the highest mountain ranges in the world, and Mt. These high ranges create a rain shadow effect, generating the dry arid conditions of type B climates that dominate western China.

The desert conditions of western China give rise to a large uninhabitable region in its center. Melting snow from the high elevations feeds many of the streams that transition into the major rivers that flow toward the east. Created by tectonic plate action, the many mountain ranges are also home to earthquakes and tremors that are devastating to human livelihood.

The Indian tectonic plate is still pushing northward into the Eurasian plate, forcing the Himalayan ranges upward. With an average elevation of fifteen thousand feet, the Tibetan Plateau is the largest plateau region of the world.


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It has high elevations and type H climates. The plateau is sparsely populated and the only places with human habitation are the river valleys.


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  6. Lhasa is the largest city of the sparsely populated region. The small amount of precipitation that occurs often comes in the form of hailstorms mixed with wind. Its landscape is generally rocky and barren. Colder type D climates dominate the Mongolian steppe and northern China.

    The eastern coast of the Asian continent is home to islands and peninsulas, which include Taiwan and the countries of Japan and North and South Korea. Taiwan is farther south, producing a warmer tropical type A climate.

    The mountainous islands of Japan have been formed as a result of tectonic plates and are prone to earthquakes. Since water moderates temperature, the coastal areas of East Asia have more moderate temperatures than the interior areas do. A type C climate is dominant in Japan, but the north has a colder type D climate. The densely populated fertile river valleys of central and southeastern China are matched by contrasting economic conditions. Rich alluvial soils and moderate temperatures create excellent farmland that provides enormous food production to fuel an ever-growing population.

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    China Proper has dense population clusters that correspond to the areas of type C climate that extend south from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Around the world, most humans have gravitated toward type C climates. These climates have produced fertile agricultural lands that provide an abundance of food for the enormous Chinese population. To the south the temperatures are warmer, with hot and humid summers and dry, warm winters. The climates of China Proper are conducive for human habitation, which has transformed the region into a highly populated human community.

    Northwest of Beijing is Inner Mongolia and the Gobi Desert, a desert that extends into the independent country of Mongolia. Arid type B climates dominate the region all the way to the southern half of Mongolia. The northern half of Mongolia is colder with continental type D climates. In the higher elevations of the highlands in western Mongolia, there is a section of type H highland climates.