South Korea, in an effort to fight the effects of an aging population, plans to spend more than US$20 million (about NT$658 million) over the next 10 years to find out the secrets of eternal youth.
The point of spending so much money is to keep older people active in the economy for longer to make up for the country's rock-bottom birth rate. The money will be given to local scientists who are developing age-defying technologies.
Cho Seong-Chan, who is involved with the project, says that developing these technologies will also be a way for South Korea to earn foreign currency in the future.
The project reflects the nation's worries about its declining population and low birth rate. Birth rates are currently falling all over the world, but it is especially a problem in South Korea. People aged 65 or above will make up 37 percent of the population in 2050, which will cause a lot of economic problems.
One reason for the low birth rate is that many young people in the country are reluctant to give up careers to start a family. Some see children as an expensive burden on their lifestyles and careers. As a result, the country's fertility rate (the average number of children born to a woman who is physically able to have children) fell to a record low of 1.08 in 2005, which is much lower than the world average of 2.6. South Korea's population, which stands at 48 million this year, is forecast to fall to 40 million in 2050.(AFP)
1. age-defying adj.
抗老的 (kang4 lao3 de5)
例: This new age-defying face cream is supposed to make all your wrinkles go away.
2. reflect v.i. /v.t.
反映 (fan3 ying4)
例: That statement reflects how little you know about politics.
3. reluctant adj.
不情願的 (bu4 qing2 yuan4 de5)
例: It seems like a good job, but I am reluctant to work so far away from my house.
4. burden n.
重擔 (zhong4 dan4)
例: The Smiths' unemployed son is a huge burden on them.