Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the 52nd Commission on Population and Development Side-Event: “Policy Options for Low Fertility and Ageing: Choices and Prosperity”

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Thank you,
First of all, allow me to express my heartfelt appreciation to the panelists and participants who have enriched the discussions on “Policy Options for Low Fertility and Ageing”. I believe that today’s discussions and exchange of policy challenges in each country across the regions has proven that the agenda of low fertility and ageing is indeed a global challenge.
In my own country of Japan, 28% of the population is aged 65 years or older, the world’s highest ageing rate. Our fertility rate has risen slightly in recent years, but even so, it is now only 1.43. If these statistics remain unchanged, our population’s proportion of adolescents and productive aged adults will continue to drop. The impact of these demographic changes will impact our society and economy as a whole.
Japan has been addressing these demographic challenges through various policy measures, including creating a supportive legal environment for child care and promoting healthy ageing to ensure self-reliance when possible. We have garnered many positive achievements, such as sustaining our universal health coverage and long-term care systems, though many challenges still remain to be tackled.
Globally, low fertility and ageing pose a difficult challenge to achieving universal health coverage for healthy lives and well-being for all at all stages, as a cornerstone to achieving the SDGs. Therefore, in this landmark year, we would like to reiterate Japan’s commitment to the agenda of the ICPD, as well as broader population and development issues, including low fertility and ageing, around which we were able to deepen the discussions today.
This year Japan will host a series of relevant events, including the G20 Summit in June and the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD 7, in August, that should lead to the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on UHC in September and the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 in November. With these milestones in mind, we look forward to continuing to work together with all of you on this pressing issue.
I thank you.