Japan has ample room to accept more foreign labor to help fill a critical and widening demographic gap that threatens its future prosperity, said a key advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday.
Japan's shrinking and aging population is the biggest structural challenge that the country faces, according to Tomomi Inada, a member of the Japanese parliament and a former defense minister, who has prime ministerial ambitions.
The country is the world's third-largest economy and a key member of the Group of 20 nations, but currently faces a harsh reality as its population is aging rapidly and the birth rate declines.
During an address at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Inada cited Japanese statistics showing that the country's working age population will fall by about 1.1 percent a year over the next 50 years.
"This is going to put a huge burden on the economy," said Inada, who is a special aide to Abe in his capacity as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.