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The Diet enacted a law Wednesday requiring the national and local governments to work to create social and other conditions favorable to raising children.

The law is designed to halt the fall in the national birthrate. It requires improvements to the employment system, nursery-care services and other measures to help parents who work while raising children.

Japanese have a responsibility to “dream of having a family and rearing children,” according to the law. This triggered protests from some lawmakers and women’s groups, who argue the law will lead to a policy of controlling population size and will further repress women who do not or cannot have children.

The Diet during the current session also enacted a law under which corporations and local governments must work out action plans to assist parents in raising children.