February 1, 2023

Japan must save its falling birth rate ‘now or never,’ PM Kishida says

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of Japan The prime minister issued a stark warning on Monday about the country’s population crisis, saying it was “on the brink of not being able to sustain social functions” due to falling birth rates.

In a policy address to lawmakers, Fumio Kishida said it was a matter of solving the problem “now or never” and that it “just can’t wait any longer.”

“Thinking about the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation’s economy and society, we place child rearing as our most important policy,” the Prime Minister said.

Kishida added that he wants the government to double its spending on child-related programs, and that a new government body will be established in April to focus on the issue.

Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with the Ministry of Health predicting that fewer than 800,000 births will be recorded in 2022 for the first time since records began in 1899.

The country has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. In 2020, about one in 1,500 people in Japan was 100 or older, according to official statistics.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a policy speech on January 23, 2023 in Tokyo.

These trends are driven. The growing population crisis, Not enough young people to fill the void of a rapidly aging society, a shrinking workforce and a stagnant economy.

Experts point to several factors behind the low birth rate. The high cost of living in the country, limited space and lack of childcare facilities in cities make raising children difficult, meaning fewer couples are having children. Urban couples are also often distant. From extended family who can help provide support.

Attitudes toward marriage and starting families have also changed in recent years, with more couples forgoing both during the pandemic.

Some point to the pessimism young people in Japan hold for the future, with many frustrated by work pressures and economic stagnation.

Japan’s economy has stagnated since the asset bubble burst in the early 1990s. According to the World Bank, the country’s GDP growth rate declined from 4.9 percent in 1990 to 0.3 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, the average real annual household income fell from 6.59 million yen ($50,600) in 1995 to 5.64 million yen ($43,300) in 2020, according to 2021 data from the country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The government has introduced various measures to address population decline over the past few decades, including new policies to expand childcare services and improve housing facilities for families with children. Some rural towns have even started paying couples living there to have children.

Demographic changes are also a concern in other parts of East Asia.

Recently South Korea Broke his own record. With the world’s lowest fertility rate, figures from November 2022 show that a South Korean woman will have an average of 0.79 children in her lifetime – far below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population. . Japan’s fertility rate is 1.3, while the US’s is 1.6.

during this, China’s population shrinks in 2022 For the first time since the 1960s, its troubles have grown as it struggles to recover from the pandemic. The last time its population declined was in 1961, during a famine that killed tens of millions across the country.

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