Implications of an Unlimited Fertility Policy in China: Lessons from Low Fertility and Population Aging in Japan and Korea

  • Ik Ki KimEmail author
  • Juanjuan Sun
Open Access


In 2016 China began implementing a new population strategy after having maintained a one-child policy for 35 years. This paper draws on the lessons we can learn about low fertility and population aging in Japan and South Korea to consider the implications of the newly announced ‘universal two-child’ policy in China. Japan, Korea and China share many socio-cultural characteristics and have undergone similar processes with respect to low fertility and population aging at different periods of time. Many scholars argue that China’s family planning program has greatly reduced China’s fertility level, but the effects of other socioeconomic factors have, in fact, had a greater impact on the reduction of the fertility rate than the one-child policy had. Considering the effects of the fertility policy that limits the number of births in China and the lessons we can get from unsuccessful fertility boosting measures in Japan and Korea, this paper suggests that a fertility policy that puts no limits on births should be adopted in China.

Key words

Low fertility Population aging Family planning program Universal two-child policy Fertility boosting measures 



Funds: Research project “Population Transition and Support System for Family Care for the Elderly in China, Japan and Korea” sponsored by Asia Research Center, Renmin University of China.


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© China Population and Development Research Center 2015

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology and Population StudiesRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.Centre for Population and Development StudiesRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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