About 14.4% of municipalities in Japan had cases in which mothers were denied care after giving birth, a survey recently showed, underscoring the country's need to address such issues as it struggles to reverse its declining birthrate.

The rate of rejection for reasons such as a shortage of facilities was even higher, reaching 43% in municipalities with populations of 200,000 or more, according to the survey commissioned by the government and conducted last fall by Nomura Research Institute.

With the number of babies born in Japan in 2022 dropping below 800,000 for the first time since records began in 1899, the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has designated the expansion of postpartum care services as a pillar in its effort to reverse the declining birthrate.