For the Japanese auto industry – by which I mean the industry located in Japan – this has strong implications. First, this is one of the underlying changes reflected in a set of graphs I posted on the future of the auto industry in Japan: firms hoping to sell cars face a shrinking market. It also means that recruiting workers will be harder. In Japan (unlike in China and India) families do not engage in sex selection (aborting girls), and the change in the number of young men in the labor force is likewise declining. (Indeed, because the participation rate for men has long been near 100%, the drop is more rapid as there has been no offsetting rise in the proportion of men working.)
This shows up too in technical fields; the number of engineers is down 15% from peak and casual observation (academic 2006-7 at Chiba University, a strong engineering school) is that many of those in technical fields are international students. Unless the auto industry (by which I mean suppliers, who generate two-thirds of employment) globalize, they will cease to be players, lacking the engineering clout to stay in the game. And if the unsuccessful efforts of my son (as a TEFL-certified teacher) to find an English teaching job in Japan are at all representative, young Japanese are not learning English. Meanwhile, of course, Honda and Toyota already employ 1,000 or more at their technical centers in the US. As businesses, they are positioning themselves to draw upon a global pool of engineering talent. That however does not help the Japanese industry.