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Japanese firms feel ‘sense of crisis’ over falling birthrate

More than nine out of 10 Japanese firms feel a sense of crisis about the country’s accelerating birthrate decline, with few hopeful that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government can arrest the fall, according to a Reuters monthly poll.

Kishida unveiled a plan in March to reverse the birthrate trend, a problem that has worsened under successive Liberal Democratic Party administrations, threatening to further shrink the country’s workforce and sap consumer demand.

Those measures, which include expanding child allowance provisions, increasing paid parental leave and providing subsidies for fertility treatments came after the government revealed that annual births last year had dipped below 800,000 for the first time, eight years earlier than expected.