Japanese government pledges measures to combat declining birth rate

File – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a press conference at the G7 2022. – Daniel Karmann/dpa

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Friday his commitment to implement measures to allow 85 percent of men to take paternity leave by 2030 to combat the declining birth rate.

Kishida also pledged to raise wages for young workers and to increase economic assistance to create an environment conducive to carefree parenting, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo.

»By the 2030s, Japan’s youth population will decline twice as fast as it does today. The next six to seven years will be the last chance to turn around the declining birth rate,» Kishida added.

In addition, the Japanese government will announce at the end of March a package of measures to support children, whose births fell below 800,000 in 2022, a record low since records began in 1899, according to Japanese government data.

While 85.1 percent of women took maternity leave between 2021 and March 2022, only 13.97 percent of men did so because of their »concern that taking time off may increase the workload of their partners.»

The Japanese prime minister has insisted on his willingness to increase public spending, although without specifying how he will finance this budget, so some detractors have called this announcement »election propaganda».

When Japan announced the increase in its military budget, he also expressed his willingness to increase corporate, income and tobacco taxes.

Japanese public spending related to family support remained at 2.01 percent of its budget in 2020, lagging behind other developed countries such as Sweden (3.46 percent), the United Kingdom (2.98 percent) or France (2.81 percent).