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Number of births in Japan to hit record low in 2017

Updated December 23, 2017

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TOKYO: The number of births in Japan this year has fallen to is lowest since rec­ords began more than a century ago with about 941,000 new babies, the health ministry said on Friday, proof if any were needed that it faces an ageing and shrinking population.

The number of births will be about 4 per cent lower than last year and the lowest since the government started compiling data in 1899, the ministry said.

“What’s behind this is a continuous decline in the number of women in the typical childbearing age bracket of 25 to 39,” a health ministry official said.

The number of deaths will likely rise by three per cent from the previous year to 1.34 million, a post-World War Two high, resulting in the largest ever natural population decline of 403,000, the ministry said.

These figures do not include foreign nationals living in Japan, who account for some one per cent of the population. Japan has a population of about 125 million, not including foreigners.

Governments have for years tried to encourage families to have more children but the population keeps shrinking, and aging.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2017