Japan says it’s the last chance to reverse the trend of its declining birthrate.

The poster child for aging society is nearing a "whatever it takes” moment on spending to boost the number of babies born each year. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is promising steps that will be on a "different dimension” to those attempted so far. Kishida has pledged to significantly increase the amount of money for programs to support children, which would take outlays to 4% of gross domestic product. Steps such as a bigger allowance for families are welcome, but will more spending actually make a dent in the fertility crisis?

It’s easy to be fatalistic about the prospects. But if Japan is destined to become an older, smaller society, it won’t be alone. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike declared last week that the declining population was a "national challenge.” While she meant that it’s not an issue merely for the capital, her language is wide of the mark — it’s an international challenge. The increasing level of desperation in the rhetoric of Tokyo’s politicians will soon be heard in other countries, if it isn’t already.