68% of people support Japan's low birth rate

68% of people support Japan's low birth rate

Sixty-eight percent of people said they either support or'somewhat support' society with the cost of government measures to tackle the country's low birth rate, according to a nationwide opinion survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Among the government's proposals, more than half of the survey respondents preferred enhancing child care support programs than expanding cash payments, indicating a preference for environmental change over benefits.

By age group, 77% of those at age 18 to 39 is in favor of sharing the cost of measures across society, above 68% of those age 40 to 59 and 64% of those age 60 or older.

The plan would cover childbirth expenses via public health insurance to enable people to give birth with peace of mind, 75% of respondents said it was'somewhat' or'very' promising.

Sixty-eight percent of thesurveyed said they had high expectations to create a system that would allow anyone to use child care services regardless of their work circumstances. The survey found that 58 percent of thesurveyed had high expectations for a plan to increase income guarantees during child care leave to encourage males to take such leave.

A plan to remove the income cap on child benefits and expand eligibility to all parents with children up to high school age, according to the survey, had 44% of respondents said they had high expectations for the plan. A raise in child benefits for third- and subsequent children was seen as highly promising by 46% of responders.

The government is planning to secure an additional 3.5 trillion or so a year for measures to tackle the low birth rate. As to how to finance the measures, 73% said they 'oppose' or'somewhat oppose' raising social insurance premiums, 76% said they 'disagree' or'somewhat disagree' with cutting social security spending and 54% said they 'disagree' or'somewhat disagree' with issuing government bonds.

The survey also found that 92% of respondents agreed that the low birth rate is a serious problem for Japan's future. Asked if it is easy to give birth and raise children in Japan, 77% of thosesurveyed said they 'disagree'or'somewhat disagree' that it is easy.

The survey was conducted by mail with 3,000 randomly selected eligible voters from 250 locations across the nation. The questionnaires were sent on July 18 and 66%, or 1,972; they were returned with valid answers by the August 25 deadline.