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Children's Day to be public holiday starting in 2011: premier

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Wu Den-yih re-affirmed Thursday the government's goal of making Children's Day a public holiday starting in 2011, a policy he said is aimed at highlighting the importance the government attaches to children.

To ensure the April 4 holiday is added to the official calendar next year, the Ministry of the Interior should speed up its effort to amend the law governing the designation of commemorative days and holidays, Wu said.

The premier raised the issue when the ministry delivered a report on the welfare of children and teenagers at a weekly Cabinet meeting.

Wu said government agencies should work to boost the country's declining birth rate by encouraging young people to get married and creating an environment suitable for raising children.

According to Wu, Taiwan's fertility rate dropped to 1.02 children per woman in 2009 -- the lowest level worldwide.

The trend in which Taiwanese people give birth to less children will decrease the country's labor force, increase the dependency ratio and tilt the balance of resource distribution between generations, which will in turn undermine the country's competitiveness, Wu said.

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