Japan's birth rate leaves country 'standing on the verge' of societal collapse, prime minister says
Country has been below "replacement rate" for decades.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned this week the country's rock-bottom birth rate poses a major risk of destabilization for the Asian country.
Kishida gave the dire warning at a meeting of the National Diet, the country's legislature. "Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society," he said during the special address.
"Focusing attention on policies regarding children and child-rearing is an issue that cannot wait and cannot be postponed," he added.
Demographers have for years pointed to Japan's markedly low birth rate as a sign of brewing trouble for the country, as its increasingly aged population comes to rely on a smaller and smaller share of workers to continue running the country as its ranks of retirees grow.
The "replacement rate" of a nation—the number of births necessary to keep a country's population stable—is considered by most experts to fall at around 2.1 children per woman.
Japan's birth rate slipped below that measure in the early 1970s.