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Now or never: Kishida prioritises reversing low birth rate

'Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions'

Japan WWII Anniversary Japans Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 | AP

Japanese Prime minister Fumio Kishida, on Monday, said his government would take urgent steps to tackle the country's declining birth rate, adding that it was "now or never" for the world's oldest society.

"Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions," Kishida said in a policy speech at the opening of this year's parliamentary session, Reuters reported.

"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," he added.

According to an AP report, Japan's population of more than 125 million has been declining for 14 years and is projected to fall to 86.7 million by 2060. A shrinking and ageing population has huge implications for the economy and national security.

Kishida said his government, by June, would bolster financial support for families with children by including more scholarships. Japan's population, in 2021 saw a natural decline in population, thanks to it reporting a record low birth rate. Kishida said his government would set up an agency to tackle the population issue by April and that he would submit plans to double the budget on child-related policies by June. 

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