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Friday, May 21, 1999 Published at 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Japan tackles baby shortage

The Japanese government is setting up a council to consider ways to increase the birth rate.

Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and the council will be trying to tackle the serious economic implications.

At the moment there are six working people for every retired person but it's projected that by the year 2025 there will only be two workers for every pensioner, and this has raised concern about the future care of the elderly.

The BBC Tokyo correspondent says many people decide one child is enough while others aren't having children at all.

She says the recession and the expense of having a child is part of the reason but it's also because increasing numbers of women have full-time careers.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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