...a demographic death.
Excerpts from the National Catholic Register:
...Perhaps I should not have been so surprised. My job required me to sometimes visit local kindergartens and day care centers, and the schools I visited were clearly built for larger numbers of children than were present. Sometimes the disparity was great. One nursery school I visited was built to accommodate 50 children. It had an enrollment of only eight.
Starker still was an elementary school built for a student population of about 100. I was astounded to discover, upon my first visit, only one student. The teacher explained that the school had to remain open until transportation arrangements could be made to bus the boy to a neighboring village. The teacher reminisced with sadness about a time when the school resounded with the sounds of children at play. My mind flashed back to the birth of my son and the 18 empty bassinets..
...On last year’s Children’s Day, the government noted that the number of children in Japan had declined for the 26th consecutive year. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 junior and senior high schools closed due to lack of students to teach. As I recently viewed a report on Japanese television stating that more than 60,000 teachers are unemployed, I couldn’t help but wonder if that teacher I met at the one-student school still had a job. That same program reported that nearly 100 children’s theme parks have closed in recent years and that more and more pediatricians are switching specialties to become geriatricians...
Note: As one who finds children to be one of the great joys in life, I find this story to be very sad.