Japan will 'disappear' if people don't have kids: PM's advisor
Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's advisor Masako Mori, in a recent interview, said that the country would cease to exist if the fall in its birth rate is not immediately controlled. She stated that the decreasing birth rate is threatening the country's social safety net and economy. Mori added that the people who will "live through the process of disappearance" will face enormous harm.
Why does this story matter?
- With just 799,728 newborns in 2022, Japan saw the fewest births in recorded history since 1899, Tokyo revealed on Tuesday (February 28).
- The fall continued the country's seven-year decline in birth rate, bringing it down by 5.1% in 2022 compared to the previous year, while Japan's mortality rate jumped by 8.9% to reach 1.58 million in the same period.
Japan's population fell by nearly 3.5 million in 14 years
PM Kishida has reportedly vowed to double the spending on children and families to contain the depleting birth rate, which has been plunging even faster than the forecast. Japan reached its peak population of 128 million in 2008. However, 14 years later, the population fell to 124.6 million in 2022. Moreover, people aged 65 or above accounted for 29% of the population last year.
Society will become distorted: Mori
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Mori said the birth rate wasn't falling gradually but "heading straight down." An upper house lawmaker and former minister who advises Kishida on the issues of birthrate and LGBTQ, she said, "A nosedive means children being born now will be thrown into a society that becomes distorted, shrinks and loses its ability to function."
Japan won't have enough recruits for defense forces: Mori
Mori said if the birth rate plunge isn't taken care of, it would lead to the collapse of Japan's social security system and its industrial and economic prowess. It would also mean that the country's defense forces won't have enough recruits. She acknowledged that reversing the trend now might be difficult since the number of women of child-bearing age has fallen as well.
New policy to take different dimension: PM Kishida
Although PM Kishida hasn't revealed the specifics of the new spending policy, he earlier said that it would be on a "different dimension" than previous policies. He has announced an increase in child allowances, an improvement in childcare facilities, and a change in working styles.