A land without children

Is what Japan is turning into, according to this WaPo article (hat tip to InstaPundit). From the article:

Population shrinkage began three years ago and is gathering pace. Within 50 years, the population, now 127 million, will fall by a third, the government projects. Within a century, two-thirds of the population will be gone.

Barring a change in attitude, a Lazarus scenario, or increased immigration, the disappearance of Japan as a society is a mathematical certainty.

What causes a society to stop having children? Clearly each individual family makes the decision to have (or increasingly not to have) children based on how it will affect them personally regardless of the effect of the collective decisions on the society as a whole. So what is it about the Japanese society that makes the decision not to have children, or to only have a single child, the predominant choice?

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