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Society Kishida: battling the falling birth rates

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Yesterday, PMKishida Fumio laid out his vision to reverse Japan's plummeting birth rate, a key pillar of which is boosting parental leave benefits. He said the next six to seven years would be Japan's last chance to reverse its declining birth trend. His administration would take "unprecedented measures as a top priority to turn the situation around."

The number of babies born in Japan last year fell below 800,000 for the first time since record-keeping began more than 120 years ago. Many couples are hesitating to add to their families because of rising costs. Kishida said the government will provide assistance to employers to encourage more of their male staff to take childcare leave. About 14 percent of eligible male workers in Japan took parental leave in 2021.

The PM also said he would raise the nation's target for the ratio of men taking childcare leave to 50% in fiscal 2025, increasing drastically from the current goal of 30%.

He also said he will aim to raise the rate to 85% by fiscal 2030, adding that the bold goals are necessary to reverse the declining birthrate. Those are lofty targets in a country with a famously rigid corporate culture: As of Oct. 1, 2021, the latest data available, the figure was 13.97%. [...] To realize his goals, Kishida said he will focus on three areas: increasing the income levels of younger people so they feel confident enough to start a family; changing the mindset and the structure of society to make it easier to raise children; and improving support for all stages of child-rearing. Specifically, the government will overhaul the child care leave system by raising the state payout if both parents — not just mothers -– take the leave, Kishida said. In such situations, the government will ensure they will be able to fully maintain their income levels while away from work during the leave. Separately, under the current system, mothers and fathers can also claim government-subsidized child care leave until their child turns 1 year old, or until the child turns 14 months old if the parents split the leave.

That's the same PM whose wife publicly stated that he had never participated in rearing their children. :LOL:
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