Japan's births set to fall below 800,000 as decline hastens

Births in Japan are on pace to reach a record low of below 800,000 this year, according to the latest official statistics, raising the specter of its population falling below the 100 million threshold much faster than anticipated.

For 12 months through May, births among Japanese nationals totaled 798,561, according to data released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in October. This is the first time the 12-month figure has dipped below 800,000 births, based on available data.

Last year, Japan recorded 811,000 births, a record low due to the COVID-19 pandemic that discouraged marriage and pregnancies. The pandemic fallout has continued to depress births this year.

Births recorded in the first half of this year reached 367,232, a decline of 5% from a year earlier. During the first three quarters of the year, there were 599,000 births, based on preliminary figures that include births by foreign nationals. This total is down 4.9% from the year-earlier period.

Births have declined by an average of 2.5% a year over the past decade. But this year's decline points to the pace doubling. ...continue reading

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