Japan population decline highest in history this year

Estimated number of babies born inthe country also dropped to record low this year

In 2018 Japan suffered its biggest natural population decline ever, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported last week. According to the figures presented, this year the "super-aged" nation also had a record-low birthrate, as the estimated number of babies born in 2018 dropped to 921,000 - the lowest since such statistics began in 1899. The number of newborns represents 25,000 less than a year earlier, and the figure remains under the 1 million mark for the third year running.

In addition, the total number of deaths this year also hit a postwar record high of almost 1.4m, with a natural population decline about 448,000, the largest gap in the nation's recorded history.

Japan is known as a "super-aged" nation, meaning more than 20% of its population is older than 65. Currently country's total population stands at 124m - but by 2065 it is expected to have decreased by approximately 30 percent until 2065 to about 88m. The data showed, however, that the pace of population decline is picking up.

Thus, in order to attain its goal of raising the total fertility rate to 1.8 by the end of fiscal 2025, the Japanese government is already taking steps to stem the population decline by expanding support for child care and education. Starting 2019 it will offer 2 trillion yen ($18bn) spending package to expand free preschool for children aged 3 to 5 - and for children aged 2 and under from low-income families.

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