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Policy Proposals  Economic Policy, Social Security Immediate Measures Needed to Tackle Population Decline - To Maintain Total Population at 100 Million -

April 14, 2015


Japan is already facing the challenge of a population in full-scale decline. To maintain its total population at least at 100 million, the whole of society must immediately take measures to recover the total fertility rate to a population replacement level of 2.07 by 2030.

In Japan, the proportion of children born out of wedlock is low and the birth rate among married couples has been stable. So the major cause of the low birth rate is believed to reflect increasing the trend of people not getting married. This trend comes against the backdrop of a social environment in which young people cannot realize their wish to get married due to their economic insecurity derived from non-regular and precarious employment. Along with the government effort to enhance employment measures for young people, companies should also improve their systems to appoint motivated and capable limited term employees to regular employees, among other things, to proactively offer more options on how people work. In addition, it is also important to promote match-making for men and women who wish to get married.

Another significant challenge is creating an environment conducive to having children and raising them, and reducing the burden of child rearing and education is one example. The current expenditure structure that has a disproportionate emphasis on benefits for the elderly needs to be reviewed, and policy resources must be boldly injected into measures to counter the decline in births, including efforts to resolve the problem of young children on waiting lists for nursery schools. Also, companies must create an environment in which employees can manage both their work and child rearing.

Meanwhile, the active participation of foreign workers in Japan will lead to innovation in the economy as a whole. Therefore reforms that contribute to attracting motivated and capable foreign workers to Japan should be promoted, as it is vital for Japan to maintain its dynamism amid its population decline. Also, it is necessary to accept a greater number of highly-skilled human resources and to expand the scope of target groups. Improving the living environment in areas such as education and medical services as well as building a multicultural society are priority issues that should be tackled also.

Economic Policy, Social Security