Shigeru Ishiba, minister in charge of reinvigorating local regions, says Japan should let in more immigrants to mitigate issues related to the nation's declining population such as labor shortages.

Ishiba's position highlights a growing rift in the Cabinet over easing the nation's strict immigration policy.

"Japan's population is shrinking. I believe (Japan) should further promote policy measures to accept immigrants," Ishiba said in response to a question posed by a reporter during a news conference at the Foreign Press Center in Tokyo on Tuesday.