Japan's fertility rate drops for 7th straight year in 2022

Photo: english.kyodonews.net
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - The total fertility rate in Japan dropped for the seventh straight year in 2022, government data showed Friday, as the country continues to struggle with a rapidly declining birthrate, Kazinform cites Kyodo.

The number of babies born in Japan last year also fell for the seventh consecutive year, dropping below 800,000 for the first time since records began in 1899 to 770,747, down 40,875 from the previous year, according to data released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman is estimated to bear in her lifetime-- fell to 1.26, on par with the record low in 2005. The decline is believed to have been exacerbated by people delaying having a child due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data comes a day after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida released a draft plan to boost «unparalleled» child-rearing support, although the announcement has raised questions about its effectiveness in turning around the falling birthrate.

The fertility rate in Japan had recovered to 1.45 in 2015, but has been on a downward trend since 2016.

By prefecture, Okinawa in southern Japan had the highest rate at 1.70, followed by Miyazaki and Tottori prefectures at 1.63 and 1.60, respectively.

Tokyo recorded the lowest rate at 1.04, while Miyagi Prefecture logged 1.09 and Hokkaido registered 1.12.

Preliminary data released by the health ministry in February showed the total number of births fell below the 800,000 mark for the first time at 799,728, but the count fell further to the 770,000 range after births by foreigners were deducted.