Home WORLD NEWS Japan’s Birth Rate Hits Record Low, Govt Warns Next 6 Yrs Last Chance To Reverse Trend

Japan’s Birth Rate Hits Record Low, Govt Warns Next 6 Yrs Last Chance To Reverse Trend

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Japan’s Birth Rate Hits Record Low, Govt Warns Next 6 Yrs Last Chance To Reverse Trend

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Japan is facing its “biggest” crisis as a recent survey shows that the number of babies born in 2023 fell to an all-time new low for an eighth year straight. As per the country’s Health and Welfare Ministry, Japan witnessed the birth of 7,58,631 babies last year which was a 5.1 percent decline from 2022. The ministry reported that this was the lowest number of births since Japan began compiling its statistics in 1899. 

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said that the period over the next six years or so until the 2030s, when the younger population will start declining rapidly, will be Japan’s last chance to reverse the trend. Hayashi told The Guardian that the ongoing declining birthrate in Japan is at a “critical state” and that “there is no time to waste.” 

The number of marriages registered in the country fell to 4,89,281 which was a 5.9 percent decline from 2022. This was the first time in 90 years that the marriage rate fell below half a million, becoming one of the key reasons behind the falling birth rates, The Guardian reported.

Out-of-wedlock births rarely happen in Japan as the family values are based on a paternalistic tradition.

According to a survey, the youth are averse to the idea of getting married or having families due to the high cost of living that is shooting up at a faster pace than salaries, bleak job prospects, and the corporate cultures that are incompatible with both parents being away at work. Many young parents reportedly feel isolated and crying babies and children playing out in the open are also considered a nuisance by the citizens, The Guardian reported.

Commenting on the issue of low births, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that it is the “biggest crisis Japan faces.” He also unveiled a package of measures, including support and subsidies for childbirth, children, and their families.

However, the experts on the matter have expressed their concerns over whether the government’s efforts will turn out to be fruitful as it is targeting people who are already married or planning to have children, failing to address a surging population of youth who are reluctant to even go that far.

The number of births in Japan has been decreasing for the past 50 years when it once peaked at about 2.1 million. The population which currently stands around 125 million is likely to fall by about 30 percent to 87 million by 2070. It is predicted that four out of every 10 people in Japan will be 65 or older by then, according to estimates by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Reuters reported. 

The recent decline which has been recorded during the survey has happened faster than the previous predictions, which projected that the country would record an annual number below 7,60,000 by 2035.

The ageing population which is shrinking at a faster pace than predicted poses a huge concern for the economy and national security of Japan as it seeks to fortify its military to counter China’s rising territorial ambitions, The Guardian reported.

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