Japan will have 2.76 million foreign residents in 2021 (latest data available), or 2.2% of the population. This percentage is far from the OECD average of 10.6%.
Births in Japan will hit new lows in 2022, dropping below 800,000 for the first time, accelerating a demographic challenge that the government wants to meet with economic measures many experts consider inadequate I am letting you.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in his opening remarks at the current parliamentary session that the archipelago is “at a critical moment” in terms of its sustainability, and assured that fertility would become a “priority issue”.
The Asian country has a fertility rate of 1.3 per woman, similar to other neighboring countries and in line with other large countries, but far from repopulation rates, so observing population pyramids offers special caution. emitted.
The population under the age of 15 is at a record low of 11.7% and the population over the age of 65 is up 29%, painting a bleak horizon for the country’s future.
Financial support in Japan
To deal with this situation, the Kishida administration is preparing more financial aid for couples wishing to have children, which is due to be presented next June.
One of the first known measures is to increase the subsidies the government currently provides to pregnant women for childbirth by 19%, up to 500,000 yen (about 3,500 euros), reducing the country’s high childbirth costs. is to contribute to Japanese social security only partially covers these costs.
Kishida also plans to double the budget for childcare until it reaches 4% of gross domestic product (GDP), though it is unclear how this increase will be financed. .
The central administration now offers subsidies of up to 15,000 yen (approximately 100 euros) per child per month for families with limited income, in addition to other local programs that depend on each municipality. .
Takumi Fujinami, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, told EFE that the decline in the birth rate is “mainly due to deteriorating employment.”
“In Japan, wages have hardly increased in the last 30 years. The income of the elderly stays the same, and the younger the younger, the lower the income. It is important to fix this. For the development of children. They are underpaid more than they should be to make up for the aid given,” he explains.
Analysts agree the government’s financial approach is not enough to deliver results. It does not solve the social problems that fuel this trend.
The wage stagnation is exacerbated by a surge in temporary contracts, which are cheaper than full-time jobs for businesses, giving new generations a “negative vision of the future,” economists said.
Add to this the gender gap. Childcare and household care are still largely entrusted to women, and their jobs are more precarious.
There are also factors that the conservative ruling coalition hesitates to evaluate. For example, legislation, protection of sexual minorities (Japan is the only one of her G7 countries that has not legalized gay marriage) and immigration.
marriage and immigration
Marriage is closely related to the birth rate in Japan. Nearly 98% of births are between husband and wife, but more and more young people are not interested in marriage.
Japan, whose family vision is “very conservative”, lacks conditions and laws to protect children born in wedlock, and this is increasing in other countries as well.
Also, single mothers are often subjected to many social and economic stigmas and often end up in poverty.
When it comes to immigration, a driving force of birth in other countries, the Japanese archipelago continues to lag behind despite a notable influx of foreigners over the past decade.