To save Japan from a looming demographic crisis linked to its shrinking population, a goal of maintaining the nation's population at around 100 million for the next 50 years should be set by allocating more of the social security budget to help child-rearing households instead of the elderly, an advisory panel to the prime minster said in an interim report Tuesday.

If the panel's final report is adopted, it will be the first time the government has set a numerical population target.

But the panel, which is tasked with projecting Japan's future and proposing policy options to the prime minister, did not recommend that more foreigners be brought in to offset the expected drop in the population.