Japan is running out of engineers!


Looks like Japan is running out of engineers, the guys who design all the neat high-tech toys (among other things) so many of us fawn over. And you can blame “Western” ideology for the shortage.

Young Japanese are fleeing the sciences, including mathematics and engineering, to pursue “easy” careers like banking, finance or the arts. Whereas post-WWII Japan was all about churning out top-notch engineers, who went on to engineer the country right into the First World, kids these days are all about easy money—why work 18-hour days sweating over blueprints and the like when you can play the market?

Never mind that the Japanese population is getting older and older. “Japan is sitting on a demographic time bomb. An explosion is going to take place. They see it coming, but no one is doing enough about it.” That’s the view of just one professor, but go ahead and talk to any demographer and they’ll tell you what’s up. Or read Death of the West.

Japan is trying to solve the problem by telling students that, hey, if there’s so few engineers about, what better way to have a steady job than become one yourself? It’s also trying to import foreign engineers (and construct engineering centers in other Asian countries), but the country’s perceived “closed” culture has disinterested many.

This sorta reminds me of my commencement address last week. The best speech was by the dean of the medical school who said things like, “You will heal the sick, you will lessen the pain of the weary, you will make life more comfortable for the restless.” Then you’ve got the dean of the arts school saying, “You people can analyze Shakespeare like nobody’s business.” Wow, awesome. What degree is more valuable to humanity, really?