May 15, 2014


Stemming fall in population (Ikuko Higuchi and Daisuke Segawa, 5/15/14,  Yomiuri Shimbun)

The fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifetime, was 1.41 in 2012. If the fertility rate remains at the current low level, the nation's population decline will accelerate, with the population falling to less than 87 million in 2060. In addition, as people aged 65 or older will account for 40 percent of the population, Japan is expected to face a combination of two adverse factors in future: a sharp decline in population coupled with an elderly society. With that in mind, Mimura said, "We must do everything in our power to avoid such a future." [...]

While boosting the country's fertility rate to 2.07 by 2030 is necessary to achieve this goal, it will be no easy task. As a drastic measure to address the falling birthrate, the committee proposed shifting emphasis on the allocation of tax resources and social security spending from the elderly to children. Of the country's spending on social security benefits, which amounted to ¥107 trillion in fiscal 2011, about 70 percent was for elderly people, while only about 4 percent was for children. The proposal called on the government to address the current situation by doubling its budget related to benefits for childbirth and child-rearing.

According to several surveys, many couples decide not to have a child for economic reasons. In countries that succeeded in recovering the fertility rate to around 2.0, such as France, Britain and Sweden, social security benefits for children stand at more than 3 percent of their gross domestic products, compared to 1 percent in Japan. With this in mind, the panel said, "Support for child-rearing should be increased to levels like that in other countries, and the necessary expenses should be shouldered by the current generations."

...and they don't have a culture, like England and Sweden do.

Posted by at May 15, 2014 2:52 PM

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