May 4, 2014 2:00 am JST

Japan aims to keep population above 100 million in 2060

A women eat ice-cream at Tokyo's Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly. © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will aim to maintain the country's population at more than 100 million until at least 2060, as a key pillar of medium- to long-term national goals.

     Current projections put Japan's 2060 population at 86 million. The government is planning intensive measures through 2020 to curb this declining trend.

     A panel of the government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy discussing mid- to long-term measures to prepare for the future is expected to recommend the 2060 population target in an interim report to be released later this month. The panel is headed by Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

     The long-term population target is expected to be included in a new basic economic and fiscal policy to be adopted by the government in June.

     Japan's total fertility rate was 1.41 in 2012. The government will seek to raise this to 2.07  -- the necessary minimum for natural population growth -- or higher and maintain the population at around 105.45 million in 2060.

     To boost the nation's slumping fertility rate, the government will aim to double its annual spending on support measures for childbirth and child rearing from around 3 trillion yen (about $29 billion) at present. To raise funds, the government will review its social security budget policy, which currently puts a greater emphasis on support measures for the elderly.