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Why Japan needs more children

Japan's importing workers because not enough children are being born
Japan's importing workers because not enough children are being born. Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo tells Shaun Ley why young Japanese women don't want to get married.
(Picture: Japanese children using wooden hammers to pound rice at a festival in Tokyo.
Credit: AFP/Getty)

EU gives green light to landmark trade pact with Japan

European Union flag flapping in Brussels
Getty Images

The European Parliament has given its thumbs up for a landmark trade pact with Japan - the largest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated by the EU.

The economic partnership will cover a trade zone of 600 million people and covers about a third of global GDP and about 40% of global trade.

It will remove most duties on EU goods exported to Japan, which has already ratified the trade pact.

"Our economic partnership with Japan - the biggest trade zone ever negotiated - is now very close to becoming a reality," said Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Commissioner for Trade.

The final step now is for Council to give its go-ahead later this month - and the free trade zone can come into play from February next year.

Japan 'reluctantly' allows more foreign workers

Shinzo Abe's government hopes to ease labour shortages across the country
Japan’s parliament has passed new rules dramatically increasing the number of foreign workers allowed to enter the country. 

An estimated 340,000 foreign workers will now be allowed visas for both high-skilled and low-wage jobs over the next five years. It’s seen as an important move to counter the country’s declining population and productivity.

 But it’s not without controversy, as the BBC's Ed Butler reports from Tokyo. 

(Image: A person has their fingerprints scanned at the new Tokyo International Airport. Credit: Getty Images)