Policy Proposals Economic Policy, Social Security Requests concerning measures against declining number of births
In Japan, since the early 1990s, various measures have been taken to tackle the declining number of births but the fertility rate and the number of births continue to follow a downward trend. Background factors behind the trend include the following:
- The population's insufficient understanding of the importance of measures against the falling number of births;
- The government's budget related to these measures has been small in size and has not been sufficiently appropriated toward in-kind benefits such as childcare services;
- Policies for supporting the independence of young people have been lax.
In this request, Keidanren asserts that the government should increase its budget for supporting childrearing while reviewing the expenditures for the elderly, as part of measures against the falling number of births. Among the social security benefits, there are items for which payment to the elderly is too generous compared with the perceived burden on the working generations. This point should be reviewed and services to support childrearing should be expanded. In addition, Keidanren points out the need to upgrade scholarships and enhance career education as moves toward helping young people become independent and to prepare an environment for companies that contributes to the vitalization of local industries as part of efforts to curb the outflow of population from regional areas.
Also in this request, Keidanren specifies roles which companies should fulfill in terms of measures against the falling number of births, such as promoting the use of childcare leave by male employees and remedying the situation in which workers constantly have to work long hours. Taking into account the observation that the unstable employment environment for young workers is a reason that many of them are not getting married, Keidanren is willing to cooperate in providing employment opportunities that support diverse working styles, including setting up a system in which non-regular employees can change their employment status, as well as to cooperate in offering career education as a means to resolve mismatches between employers and young job seekers.