The experiencing a lot of economic growth in the past decades. The urbanization of these countries has allowed experiencing new opportunity due to the increasing wealth such as traveling. However, despite these positive aspects of economic growth, Asia is facing many challenges that could affect future generations. One of the challenges that Asia is facing now is a decline in birth rates. Japan is a country that especially experiencing. Japan is a country in which men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support their families.
The lack of good jobs is creating a class of men who don’t marry and have children due to men and their partners knowing that they cannot afford to support them financially (Semuels). This led many Japanese women to join the workforce to provide for themselves, which has increased the country’s economy but has also driven a wedge between men and women.
By 2060, the country’s population is expected to plummet to 86.
74 million from its current total of 126.26 million, according to a projection by the Japanese Health Ministry (Wakatsuki and Griffiths). However, Japan is not the only country with a decline. South Korea is also experiencing this. In 2016, South Korea’s fertility rate, the average number of babies women are expected to have in their lifetime, stood at 1.17, which is the lowest in the world compared to a global fertility rate being at 2.4. In 2017, the fertility rate of South Korea set a record low of 1.07 (‘Birth Strike’). Another challenge that Asia is facing cultural homogenization or ethnic cleansing.
The act of ethnic cleansing is specifically occurring in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. In Myanmar, Rohingya is one of the many ethnic minorities in the country living in the Rakhine state and represent the largest percentage of Muslims.
The Rohingya have their own language and culture that is separate from the majority of the inhabitants in Myanmar being Buddhist. It said that they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations (‘Myanmar Rohingya: What You Need to Know about the Crisis.)’ The attacks against Rohingya have escalated after the government blamed fighters from an armed Rohingya group for the killings of nine border police in 2016 (Al Jazeera). The attacks from the Myanmar forces have included rape, arson, and murder. There were early signs of this cleansing before 2018. Early accounts of possible ethnic cleansing were in November 2016 when a UN official accused the Myanmar government of it and in April 2013, HRW, Human Rights Watch, said Myanmar was conducting a campaign against the Rohingya (Al Jazeera). Due to these attacks from the Myanmar military, many Rohingya have been seeking refuge in nearby neighboring countries, such as Bangladesh, who have limited resources and land to host refugees.
More than 1.1 million people are refugees in the country, according to Bangladeshi authorities (Albert and Chatzky). The final challenge that Asia is facing pollution. Air pollution is predominately founding in countries with growing industrial cities with factories such as China and India. In recent years, air pollution is one consequence of a massive exodus from farm to city that has occurred in recent decades in China and India (Ives). 11 of the 12 listed cities that have the highest levels of small particulate are located in India and Kanpur is at the top of this list. Kanpur has a yearly average of 319 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, which is the most hazardous particle commonly measured (Irfan). A recent report found that families in India that used wood or dung as cooking fuel, mothers are at risk of conceiving underweight babies.
Children are also at risk, as at a young age, they may develop asthma and contract infections like tuberculosis (Irfan). The levels of air pollution are continuing to increase as the years go on, which will lead to bigger consequences. In Mainz, Germany, Jos Lelieveld, a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, and his colleagues conducted a study that combined the global atmospheric chemistry model with population statistics and health data to estimate the number of premature deaths caused by pollutants by 2050. Their model scenario predicted that would be 6.6 million premature deaths globally by air pollution (Hadlington). In conclusion, those are the challenges that the countries of Asia are facing. The challenges that are occurring now could drastically affect future generations from the extinction of the Rohingyas to increasing birth affects from air pollution.