More than 30 percent of women in Japan are worried about how they will be viewed by their bosses as well as by colleagues at work when taking maternity leave, a survey showed Thursday.

The finding by 1 More Baby Oendan (cheering squad), a foundation that provides information on raising children, comes at a time when the nation is grappling with a declining birthrate and shrinking population. The annual number of newborns fell below the 1 million mark for the first time last year.

"It is necessary to create an environment where people can choose various ways of working," said Kai Akiyama, executive director of the foundation.