NZ among countries with a sex problem

(Reuters file)
(Reuters file)

Japan has a problem with sex.

There are just not enough babies being born. In fact, Japanese women are having so few of them, it's been estimated just 1 million babies were born there in 2015, while 1.3 million people died. That's a decline of 300,000 people in just one year.

It's been estimated Japan's population could fall by half in just 24 years.

On average, a country needs a birth rate of 2.2 children per woman just to hold the population steady - what's known as "replacement fertility".

Why is that happening?

In a survey conducted by the Japan Family Planning Association, nearly 49.3 percent of people between 18 and 49 said they hadn't had sex in the past month - up 10 percent from just two years ago.

Respondents blamed poor work-life balance for their lack of intimacy, a factor in many industrialised countries.

In Japan, men often work as much as 80 hours a week, while a growing number of women are putting off raising kids to grow careers instead.

That's a major reason Germany brought in 1 million refugees last year - to grow the workforce - and had its biggest population jump in more than two decades. 

Russia has paid couples thousands of dollars to have babies for almost a decade.

Singapore does that too and, up until recently, Australia had a similar - albeit smaller - plan.

But it's been forecast none of these plans are enough to reverse the declining trend.