04:49 GMT +325 April 2019
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    The Shrinking Nation: Japan's Birth Rate Plummets to Record Lows

    © AFP 2019 / Yoshikazu TSUNO
    Asia & Pacific
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    The number of newborn babies in Japan in 2014 has fallen to the lowest level since records began in 1889, according the country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

    The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that the number of babies born in Japan last year was the lowest since population data collection started in 1889.

    1,003,532 babies were born the country in 2014, about 26,000 fewer than in 2013, the ministry said; this is reportedly the lowest number of births ever recorded since population statistics began being kept at the end of the 19th century. 

    The so-called total fertility rate, an average number of children a woman gives birth to during her lifetime, shrank 0.01 points to 1.42, according to the ministry.

    The number of deaths in 2014 stood at 1,273,020, the highest-ever in postwar Japan.

    With the birth and death rates being calculated against each other, the overall population has, meanwhile, reduced by nearly 270,000 people.

    The latest statistics show the most considerable population drop since the decline started about eight years ago, a ministry spokesperson said, adding that the figures should prod the government to do more to improve the situation.

    Some gloomy forecasts say that the coming decades will see a further drastic decline in Japan's population, which may leave the country with a population of 86 million people in 2060. The current number reportedly stands at about 126,818,019.    


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