Taiwan’s military faces manpower crunch as births decline

Declining birth rate impacts Taiwan’s military manpower (TVBS News)
Declining birth rate impacts Taiwan’s military manpower (TVBS News)

TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Taiwan's eligible male population for conscription has fallen below 100,000 for the first time, reflecting the severe impact of declining birth rates on military manpower.

According to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), there will be only 97,828 eligible males in 2024.

In response, the MOI plans to tighten eligibility for the Replacement Soldier Service (補充兵) by allowing only those caring for disabled direct relatives without other support to apply.

The proposed changes will restrict applications to those with direct relatives, spouses, or siblings who have moderate to severe disabilities and lack alternative caregivers. Concurrently, exemptions based on income levels will be eliminated.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has also relaxed physical standards to bolster the ranks, a move prompted by low birth rates and ongoing tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

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