SINGAPORE, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said Wednesday that his country must take in migrants to make up for its low total fertility rate.
He made the remarks at a fireside chat organized by Standard Chartered Bank here, along with Paul Volcker, 85, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve (1979-1987).
He said Japan has aging population, but "they refused to take migrant". "So I see a nation reduced to half in 20 years, and if it still continues with the same policy, reduced to a further half, and eventually, it is all over!" he added.
"To have a nation, you must have people and you must have young people to be able to drive the economy and young people buy the products - all these gadgets and fine dining - and if you don't have that, and you refuse migrants as the Japanese do, you will just dissolve into nothingness! I think before that comes, they may change (their) policy."
It's the first time Lee talked about the demographic problem related to Singapore's widely-discussed Population White Paper, in which Singapore is looking to grow its population to between 6.5 million and 6.9 million by 2030, from the current 5.31 million.
Lee, who will turn 90 in September, was hospitalized on Feb. 15 after an irregular heartbeat led to a brief stoppage of blood flow to the brain, the Prime Minister's Office said.
He has been resting at home since he was discharged from hospital on Feb. 17.