An Elon Musk tweet saying Japan would "eventually cease to exist" without a higher birthrate set off a flood of sarcasm and anger on Monday — though much of the angst was aimed at the Japanese government many said did little to address the issue.

Musk, the head of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc., at the weekend tweeted, "At risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes to cause the birth rate to exceed the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist. This would be a great loss for the world."

The comment hit a nerve among Japan watchers and in Japan, whose population peaked in 2008 and has declined since due to its low birthrate to about 125 million as of last year despite government warnings and sporadic attempts to grapple with the issue.