Japan’s newborn baby numbers drop to all-time high in 2020 amid pandemic
The number of newborns in Japan fell to an all-time high in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, marking the lowest level since the health ministry began keeping records in 1899, said the government in a report.
The number of babies born in 2020 fell from 24,407 to 840,832 a year earlier, falling below 900,000 for the first time in history, Xinhua News Agency said on Friday, citing the report.
The main spokesperson for the Japanese government, Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato, said the country’s growing demographic crisis could shake the very foundations of the country.
“The decline in the number of children is a problem that can shake the foundations of our society and our economy. It must be dealt with as a priority,” Kato said during a press briefing on the subject.
He said the barriers that prevent bearing and raising children in society must be removed.
The health ministry also said that the average rate of children a woman will have in her lifetime was 1.34 in 2020, down 0.02 points from the previous year.
In addition to the social crisis, the negative effect of the pandemic is not yet fully visible in the statistics, due to the length of time between birth and conception.
The number of births could drop to around 700,000 for the whole of 2021, analysts said, which would be a decade ahead of government forecasts.
The number of marriages during the registration period declined from 73,517 to 525,490, the lowest of the post-World War II era, while the number of divorces fell by 15,245 from to the previous year to 193,251, the ministry added.
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