Ja­pan birth rate dip

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

TOKYO: The num­ber of births in Ja­pan hit a his­toric low last year, dip­ping be­low 1 mil­lion for the first time, a wor­ry­ing sign for a coun­try suf­fer­ing from an ever- age­ing and shrink­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Last year, 976 979 ba­bies were born – the low­est since 1899, when the govern­ment be­gan keep­ing records, and a third of the peak in the baby-boom year of 1949, data re­leased by the health min­istry showed. With the general and work­ing- age pop­u­la­tion de­creas­ing, Ja­pan is grap­pling with a chronic labour short­age.

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