If you happened to have been on any of the crowded bullet trains that left Tokyo for Kyoto, Osaka and Hakata last night, you might have thought that Japan was in the midst of a population boom.

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If you happened to have been on any of the crowded bullet trains that left Tokyo for Kyoto, Osaka and Hakata last night, you might have thought that Japan was in the midst of a population boom. Instead of the usual rows of snoozing salarymen, the seats were filled with small children and their parents. My one-year-old daughter and I were among them, she blissfully unaware of the situation, me feeling the tension dissipate the further west we got. Never have I been so grateful for the speed of the Shinkansen.

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