Social Issues

Kishida puts Japan’s falling birth rate at center of 2023 social policies

Tokyo, Jan 23 (EFE).- Japan’s prime minister promised Monday to focus his social policies on supporting child-rearing, with the aim of reversing the falling birthrate decline that threatens the functionality of Japan.

In his speech on the opening day of the 2023 ordinary parliamentary session, Fumio Kishida said that the country is at a “critical juncture” for maintaining its sustainability and pointed to birth policies as a priority.

Kishida said policies aimed at facilitating families are “the most effective investment for the future” and promised to “create a children-first economy and society.”

Japan registered a record low of 811,604 births in 2021 and, pending the publication of official data, it is estimated that the number fell below 800,000 in 2022.

To address this trend, which together with the rapid aging of the population (around 30 percent is over 65 years of age) poses a demographic crossroads for the country, Kishida seeks to increase regulations and subsidies for parenting.

In April, Japan plans to inaugurate the Children and Families Agency, a highly decentralized government body to oversee children’s issues.

Coinciding with the establishment of this agency, Japan’s prime minister has promised by June to compile a series of measures and proposals that seek to double the budget related to raising children.

“We will consider how society as a whole can stably support children,” Kishida said.

The government has already advanced aid to cover the high costs of childbirth in the country and Kishida revealed Monday that they are also seeking to introduce a system of educational scholarships. EFE


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