Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a key advisory panel of intellectuals and Cabinet members Thursday, tasking them with providing ideas to overcome one of most serious long-term problems confronting Japan: its rapidly aging population and low birthrate.

Abe has set a key policy goal to maintain Japan's population — now around 127 million — at a level of more than 100 million in 50 years by boosting the low birthrate.

Abe also has pledged to create "a society where all of the 100 million citizens can play an active role," apparently with the aim of making full use of Japan's latent work force, and women in particular.