With 799,728 births compared to 1.58 million deaths in 2022, the Japanese government promised to double the funds it allocates to child and parenting policies.
The number of babies born in Japan fell below 800,000 for the first time since 1899, the year when the government began collecting birth data, according to the latest report from the Japanese Ministry of Health, published on February 28.
Specifically, in 2022 in the country were born 799,728 childrenwhich not only represents a drop of 5.1% compared to 2021, but also marks the seventh year of historical lows, exposing the challenges facing the nation in the face of its rapidly aging society.
From the Health portfolio they detail that if babies born in foreign families residing in Japan are excluded, the number of births would be around below 770,000.
This drop in the number of newborns is ahead of previous projections, given that the level registered in 2022 Was expected to materialize only in 2034.
Added to the fall in births is an increase in the number of deaths. Thus, last year there were 1.58 million deaths8.9% more than those registered in 2021.
Yoshihiko Isozaki, chief undersecretary of the Cabinet of Ministers, described this fall in the birth rate as “a critical situation.” “In my opinion, there several intricate factors that prevent people from realizing their hopes for marriage, birth and child rearing,” he declared, aforementioned by The Japan Times.
For its part, the Ministry of Health explains the population decline due to the covid-19 pandemic and the related economic problems, which served as discouraging factors for the Japanese to marry and have children.
However, the downward trend was already observed years before the pandemic, remember Asahi Shimbun daily. In an editorial published on March 2, the outlet reproaches the Japanese government for not elaborating “efficient measures” to prevent the worsening of the situation, despite the fact that the drop in birth rates already set off alarm bells some three decades ago.
The Government promises to double the efforts
Before the release of these latest data, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged in mid-February to expand child and parenting policies, doubling their efforts to 4% of GDP to cope with the fall in birth rates.
However, Kishida did not specify how the Executive plans to achieve a budget with additional spending to meet its promises, which has generated speculation that a large-scale tax increase could take place, reports The Japan Times.
Meanwhile, the level of public spending on family policies as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest among developed countriesnotes Asahi Shumbun.
- Japan’s neighboring countries are experiencing similar problems. For example, Chinese record last year a decline in its population for the first time since 1961. Meanwhile, the fertility rate in South Korea, which is already considered as the lowest in the worldcontinued its downward trend to 0.78 children per woman in 2022.