Academics are warning that in another 1,000 years the Japanese may be extinct. One imagines scenes of Cato flying from an airing cupboard being exhibited alongside hairy mammoth tusks at the Natural History Museum.
The average Japanese woman has just 1.39 children as hardworking couples plump for a pet instead. The luxury pet accessory market is cashing in with the sale of wigs for cats and doggy babygrows.
Japanese manufacturer Unicharm admits it now sells more nappies to the elderly than to new mums.
But perhaps these child-free couples are on to something. Japan may be the land of the rising sun but, as every new mother knows, being up with the dawn day after day is overrated!