Japan prefectures battling against shrinking population

Little boys play under colorful carp streamers flying above a riverside park in Sagamihara, suburban Tokyo on April 29, 2014 ahead of May 5 Children's Day in Japan.

Fifteen prefectural governments, mainly in eastern Japan, have set up organisations that are in charge of dealing with rapidly shrinking population, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Among the 15 prefectural governments, five, including the Iwate prefectural government, established such an organisation after the Japan Policy Council released a report on the nation's declining population in May.

According to the report, the number of women in their 20s and 30s-the primary childbearing ages-is likely to decrease by half or more in about half of the nation's municipalities by 2040. This will lead to a sharp drop in total population in many municipalities and the report pointed out such municipalities "may disappear" as a result.

The cross-sectional organisations have been set up by the Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, Fukui, Tottori, Kochi and Saga prefectural governments.

The Saga prefectural government, for example, plans to help young people find partners and give fertility treatment support as part of measures to stave off the population decline.