Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kushida recently pledged in a speech on two new policies that Japan will be focusing on: military build-up and addressing its low birth rate.
The first is to push for more military buildup that had begun since mid-December. This has added to the major revelation that Japan is going for military buildup not just for self-defense for the first time since the end of WWII.
The other policy of birth rate has been a great obstacle for Japan since the 1970s according to Asia Times.
“Japan’s rapid population shrinkage is primarily caused by persistently low fertility. Japan’s fertility rate has been declining since the mid-1970s, reaching a total fertility rate (TFR) of around 1.3 children per woman in the early 2000s.”
With these new plans to address Japan’s future, some experts and news media have begun debating how this will impact Japan’s geopolitics with other countries along with the consequences this will have on the nation itself.
For geopolitics, allies like South Korea, Australia, and the United States have expressed positive reactions while other countries like North Korea and China gave negative responses to its new policies. These policies include tightening relations with allies, keeping more eyes on threatening countries like China, and conducting joint exercises with both Australian and American forces.
The factors behind this policy have mainly been due to the increased tensions Japan has seen off its shores with missiles being launched into the Sea of Japan with one having flown over the country by North Korea and China. Adding to the war between Ukraine and Russia along with the tension between China and the United States, Japan is faced with major pressure from different countries.
For its main domestic issue, Prime Minister Kushida announced that a new government agency will be formed solely to look into the birth rate problem it has been facing for the past few decades.
“Kishida added that he wants the government to double its spending on child-related programs and that a new government agency would be set up in April to focus on the issue.”
BBC News reported that Japan’s birthrate in 2022 was only around 800,000 with that number still dropping. With an aging population with fewer young people to replace the previous generation, calls have been made for changes to be implemented for Japan to continue functioning.
“Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society. Focusing attention on policies regarding children and child-rearing is an issue that cannot wait and cannot be postponed.”
Japan’s future remains uncertain. With its current demographic less motivated to have families and rising tensions with North Korea and China, Japan faces a grave future if nothing is done about it.
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