Shrinking Japan? After watching the number of children decline for 35 straight years while the elderly population keeps rising, Tokyo is belatedly starting to tackle some cultural taboos in hope of defusing the nation’s demographic time bomb.

On May 18, the same day official data showed the world’s third-biggest economy avoided another recession, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a step toward securing the nation’s longer-term economic future by unveiling a plan aimed at increasing the labor force by more than 1.1 million by fiscal 2020.

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