Japan is on the brink of social dysfunction due to falling birth rates, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned, Nikkei Asia reported.
The number of newborns in the country fell below 800,000 last year for the first time in recorded history. Japan's total population on Jan. 1 was estimated at 124.77 million, down 0.43 percent from a year earlier, with 29 percent of them aged 65 and older and 11.6 percent under the age of 14.
As in other Asian countries such as South Korea, fewer births means Japan's labor force is likely to continue shrinking, putting pressure on the social welfare system to support an aging population.
Kishida said he will unveil a plan for a future doubling of the child-care budget by June.