Japanese Prime minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to take urgent steps to tackle the country’s declining birth rate. On Monday, he pledged to take urgent steps, saying it was “now or never” for one of the world’s oldest societies.
In Japan, births plunged to a new record low last year, dropping below 800,000 for the first time. It was a defining moment that came eight years earlier than the government had expected. The country has the median age of 49 years, which is the second highest in the world after Monaco’s 55 years.
Japan is the third-most-expensive country globally to raise a child, according to YuWa Population Research, behind only China and South Korea.
“Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions. It is now or never when it comes to policies regarding births and child-rearing – it is an issue that simply cannot wait any longer,” said Kishida, in a policy speech at the opening of this year’s parliamentary session.
The Japanese Prime Minister said he would submit plans to double the budget for child-related policies by June, and that a new Children and Families government agency to oversee the issue would be set up in April.