Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Encourage Citizens to Have Children   TOKYO, May 24, 2002 ( – Japan’s Health Minister predicted that “the Japanese race will become extinct” if fertility decline is not reversed. Chikara Sakaguchi told a press conference this week that with the current birthrate, Japan’s population of 127 million could begin to shrink in 2007.  In 2000, the UN said Japan would need 600,000 immigrants a year in order to keep its working population stable. “The clock is ticking” on “Asia’s ageing population,” said the UN report, adding that Japanese elderly can relish “no golden years,” since there will not be enough young workers to maintain social security systems. The UN release was enthusiastically circulated by the New York based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CFAM).  Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said ministers should “encourage citizens to have children by improving social welfare services and finding ways of facilitating child-rearing while working,” CNS News reports. Although Japan has one of the world’s higher abortion rates, neither Sakaguchi nor Koizumi was quoted as referring to abortion as a contributory factor.  To read the CNSNews report see:   For the May 21 Associated Press story see: