TOKYO – Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike recently spoke at a press conference about the measures that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) is taking to address the declining birth rate in Japan.
Koike emphasized that the decreasing birth rate is a serious problem that could potentially weaken the nation and that urgent action is necessary to tackle it.
“The declining birth rate is an urgent issue for our country,” she told the press at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) last Feb. 13.
The governor cited statistics that show the number of births in Japan continues to decrease and is expected to fall below 800,000 per year. She stressed that while the issue is primarily for the national government to address, the TMG is taking comprehensive measures to lead the nation in tackling it under the banner of “Children First.”
“We don’t have a moment to lose given the sense of urgency,” she said.
Koike stated that during her tenure as governor, the TMG has made efforts to improve facilities and the recruitment and retention of staff, which has led to a significant decrease in the number of children on daycare waiting lists.
Furthermore, she said that the TMG has allocated approximately 1.6 trillion yen for the next fiscal year to tackle the issue of the falling birth rate, the largest budget ever in Tokyo’s history.
Among the measures outlined by the governor, the TMG will provide a monthly benefit of 5,000 yen for children up to the age of 18 and eliminate nursery fees for a second child. The TMG will also expand support for infertility treatment for those who wish to have children and continue to support women who choose to freeze their eggs for the future.
The steps include free tuition at metropolitan universities and other schools as well, aimed at enriching the learning and experience of children and investing in the future of society.
“We plan to provide seamless support for children from before they are born until they reach adulthood,” Koike announced.
Tokyo has a population of about 14 million people, with about half a million foreign residents. - Florenda Corpuz