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Japan’s 2023 fertility rate hits record low of 1.20; Tokyo’s share price falls below 1 for the first time

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in Tokyo

Tokyo (Jiji Press) – Japan’s total fertility rate fell from 1.26 in 2022 to a record low of 1.20 in 2023 for the eighth year in a row, the Health Ministry said Wednesday.

In Tokyo, the total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, was 0.99, falling below 1 for the first time in the country.

The annual number of babies born in the country in 2023 fell by 43,482 to a record low of 727,277, also for the eighth year in a row, and the natural population decline, or number of deaths minus that of births, reached a record of 848,659. , highlighting the continued decline in the country’s birth rate and population.

The situation reflects a “complex mix of different factors, such as economic instability and difficulties in balancing work and childcare,” a ministry official said, adding that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were also visible. “The declining birth rate is at a critical level,” the official noted.

By prefecture, the total fertility rate was highest in Okinawa at 1.60, followed by 1.49 in Miyazaki and Nagasaki. The three lowest figures were 0.99 in Tokyo, 1.06 in Hokkaido and 1.07 in Miyagi.

Births have fallen since the country’s second baby boom in 1971-1974. The number rose briefly in 2015, but fell below 1 million in 2016, to 900,000 in 2019 and to 800,000 in 2022.

The trend towards later marriages and childbearing continues, with the average age at first marriage reaching 31.1 years for men and 29.7 years for women in 2023, unchanged from the previous year. The average age at which women had their first child was 31.0 years, the first time in two years.

The number of couples married in 2023 fell by 30,213 to 474,717, while the number of divorces grew by 4,709 to 183,808.

The annual number of deaths increased by 6,886 to 1,575,936, including 38,080 deaths, or 2.4 percent of the total, among people infected with COVID-19.



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