According to Reuters, "'The trend of the ageing society will continue and it is hard to expect the birth rate to rise significantly,' Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference." The report is triggering new debates in Japan on both how to fund benefits for the aging population and how to boost fertility rates.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has vowed to double a 5 percent sales tax in two stages by October 2015 to help fund bulging social security costs, which are rising by 1 trillion yen ($13 billion) a year and aggravating a public debt already twice the size of Japan's $5 trillion (3.18 trillion pound) economy.Sources: Press TV"Japan faces shrinking population by one-third by 2060" (February 6, 2012); Seattle Times "Japan to see population shrink by one-third in next 5 decades" (February 1, 2012); Reuters "Japan population seen falling 30 percent by 2060"
But the biggest opposition party, although agreeing on the need for a tax increase, is threatening to block legislation in parliament's upper house. The opposition argues that the ruling Democrats' plan to revamp public pensions would require a higher levy than planned.