Kishida set to deliver policy speech focusing on falling birthrate

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is set to deliver a policy speech that will highlight dealing with the country's falling birthrate as the government's top priority.

A draft of the speech for the ordinary Diet session, to be convened next week, says Japan is on the verge of losing its ability to keep social systems functioning because of the declining birthrate.

The draft also says policies to support children and child-rearing are the most effective investment for the future for which the government will devise concrete measures and seek stable financial sources.

The draft also touches on the government's efforts to increase wages. They include support for those who want to change their employment status from non-permanent to permanent, and support for reskilling. The government is also trying to accelerate reform of the labor market by reviewing the seniority-based wage system and through other measures.

As for the defense budget, the draft says the government plans to secure a total of around 43 trillion yen, or around 335 billion dollars, for the five-year period starting in fiscal 2023. It says it will put utmost efforts into administrative and fiscal reform to obtain sufficient financial sources before raising taxes.