Japan's population has been on a declining trend for years, and this trend has become more worrisome in recent times as the number of births in the country has continued to fall. On February 28, Japan recorded twice as many deaths as births, with less than 800,000 births and about 1.58 million deaths, indicating that the country's population is shrinking rapidly. The birth rate has been a cause for concern for the government, and the adviser to Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has sounded an alarm about the potential danger the country faces if the unchecked birth rate continues to wreak havoc on the social safety net and economy.
Masako Mori, Kishida's adviser, has warned that the country will "disappear" if the birth rate continues to decline at its current rate. According to Bloomberg, Mori said, "It is the people who have to live through the process of disappearance who will face enormous harm. It is a terrible disease that will afflict those children." She also warned that the decline in the birth rate could cause a lapse in the social security system in Japan, leading to a decline in the country's industrial and economic strength.
Mori, who advises Kishida on the birth rate problem and LGBTQ issues, emphasized the gravity of the situation, saying, "It is not falling gradually, it is heading straight down," adding that a nosedive in the birth rate would result in children being born into a society that becomes distorted, shrinks, and loses its ability to function. This, she said, could lead to a potential crisis where there wouldn't be enough recruits for the Self-Defense Force to protect the country.
In light of this, Kishida has vowed to double spending on children and families to control the shrinking population. His project includes increasing child allowances, improving childcare provision, and changing working styles. The Japanese government also touched upon gender equality and said changes were required, which include reducing the burden on women of raising children and easing their participation in the workforce once they have given birth.
While Mori believes that reversing the slide would be extremely difficult due to the fall in the number of women of child-bearing age, she insists that the government must do everything it can to slow the plunge and help mitigate the damage. She also criticized the decision in relation to trade and female empowerment and implied that the crisis should be dealt with separately, saying, "Women's empowerment and birth rate policies are the same. If you deal with these things separately, it won't be effective."
In conclusion, Japan is facing a crisis with its declining population, and the government is taking steps to address the issue. However, reversing the trend may be difficult, given the decline in the number of women of child-bearing age. The government must take comprehensive measures to tackle the issue, including increasing child allowances, improving childcare provision, and promoting gender equality to reduce the burden on women. Failure to address the birth rate issue could have severe consequences for Japan, including a lapse in the social security system, a decline in industrial and economic strength, and a shortage of recruits for the Self-Defense Force to protect the country.