Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged on Monday to take urgent steps to tackle the country’s falling birth rate, saying it was “now or never” for the world’s oldest society.
“Our nation is on the brink of whether it can maintain its social functions,” Kishida said in a policy speech at the start of this year’s parliamentary session.
“It is now or never when it comes to birth and child rearing policies – this is an issue that cannot wait any longer,” he added.
Kishida said he would present plans to double the budget on child policies by June, and that a new government agency would be established in April to deal with the issue.
Japan saw a record low number of births in 2021, the latest data available, marking the largest natural population decline on record.