Japan's births to plumb a record low in 2017
Nikkei -- Dec 23
Japanese births are expected to total 941,000 in 2017, the lowest tally in statistics going back to 1899, likely resulting in a natural decline in population by more than 400,000 as deaths mark a postwar peak.

The numbers out Friday from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare show that births will likely fall short of 1 million for a second straight year, following the 976,978 of 2016. The ministry sees fewer women of childbearing age, 25 to 39 years old, as a major culprit. Japan must create an environment conducive to having children, it said.

The ministry also compared birthrates of nine countries, including Japan. The U.S. logged 12.4 births per 1,000 people in 2015, against 12 for the U.K. and 11.8 for France and Sweden. Japan came in last in 2017 at 7.5.

Meanwhile, the death count is seen growing 36,000 on the year to 1,344,000. Japan has seen 10.8 deaths per 1,000 people in 2017, second only to Germany's 11.4 in 2015.

Deaths will exceed births for an 11th straight year. The gap topped 100,000 in 2010 and 200,000 in 2011, ballooning to 330,770 in 2016. It is seen widening to 403,000 in 2017 to hit 400,000 for the first time as Japan's population decline becomes more severe than ever.

今年、生まれた赤ちゃんは推計94万人で2年連続で過去最少を更新しました。 厚生労働省の推計によりますと、今年に生まれた赤ちゃんは94万1000人で去年から約3万6000人減少しました。1899年に統計を取り始めてから最少となっています。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
Sep 24
A Japanese cargo spacecraft, the Kounotori 7, is on its way to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. (NHK)
Sep 24
Japan's space agency JAXA says 2 rovers released from its Hayabusa2 probe have landed on the asteroid Ryugu. (NHK)
Sep 24
The organizer of the Tokyo Marathon is considering raising the fees paid by participants by 50 pct, from 10,000 yen to 15,000 yen, starting with the race in March 2020, it was learned Saturday. (Jiji)
Sep 23
A day after securing his record-extending 41st championship, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho closed the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record on Sunday. (Japan Times)
Sep 22
A Japanese space probe Friday released a pair of exploring rovers towards an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system. (Japan Today)
Sep 22
In just one year, some of the toughest athletes are set to hit the pitch in Japan for the Rugby World Cup. As the players gear up to play, they're getting some advice about adhering to local customs, including covering up their tattoos. (NHK)
Sep 22
Police in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, have arrested three men on suspicion of trying to rob a vacant house where an elderly couple were murdered. (Japan Today)
Sep 22
Japan's major mobile phone carrier SoftBank says more than 10 million e-mails have been lost due to a faulty mail system. (NHK)
Sep 22
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited 2 prefectures in western Japan that were hit hard by record rainfall in July. (NHK)
Sep 22
Japan's government has approved an application for a clinical test of treatment for an intractable blood disease using iPS cells, which can grow into any type of body tissue. (NHK)