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Population Panel Deputy Head Warns of Disparities, Divide in Japan

Population Panel Deputy Head Warns of Disparities, Divide in Japan

   Tokyo, June 11 (Jiji Press)--Hiroya Masuda, vice chair of a Japanese private-sector expert panel on population strategy, warned Tuesday of the possibility of disparities and divides in society deepening as a result of population decline in the country.
   "The government needs to conduct proper analyses and create policies that focus on the thinking and realities of young people and women," Masuda said in a speech at an event hosted by the Research Institute of Japan, a Jiji Press affiliate, in Tokyo.
   The population strategy council released in January a proposal calling for a target of stabilizing Japan's population at 80 million in 2100. In April, it unveiled a list of municipalities at risk of disappearing in the future due to population decline.
   "(The shrinking population) is an issue that progresses quietly, steadily and definitely," Masuda, also president of Japan Post Holdings Co. and former internal affairs minister, said, expressing concerns that delays in tackling the issue may lead to worsening intergenerational and Tokyo-rural divides.
   In addition to taking measures to boost the low birthrate, Japan should "shift to dealing with a 'shrinking society' so that growth can be secured and people can feel a sense of prosperity" even if the population declines from the current level, he said.

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