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    » 05/06/2013, 00.00

    JAPAN

    Fewer births in Japan for the 32nd year in a row



    On Children's Day, the government says that the number of children under 15 years of age fell by 150,000 in a year. A mix of consumerism, focus on career and Shintoism are behind the drop and threaten the nation's economic well-being.

    Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan's population includes fewer and fewer children and adolescents. Because of prevailing values centred on consumerism, focus on career and Shintoism, couples delay having children and many people choose not to have any. However, this way, Statistics Bureau of Japan, the number of children under 15 years of age fell 150,000 from a year earlier to a record low 16.49 million as of 1 April.

    The figures, which were released yesterday, Children's Day, show that those under 15 years of age were around 16.5 million in a population of 127 million, 12.9 per cent of the total population, one of the lowest levels in the world. In the United States by comparison, the percentage is 19.6 per cent, 16.5 per cent in China and South Korea 15.6 per cent .

    Overall, there are an estimated 8.44 million boys and 8.04 million girls. By age, 3.55 million are between 12 and 14; 3.4 million, between 9 and 11; 3.2 million, between 6 and 8; 3.17 million, between 3 and 5; and 3.16 million, between 0 and 2.

    In the nation's 47 prefectures, the number of children fell especially sharply in Fukushima, where many people were evacuated as a result of the 2011earthquake nuclear power plant accident, down by 11,000 last year and 13,000 the previous year.

    The drop in births and the consequent aging of the population pose considerable risks to Japan's economic well-being. Although the third largest economy in the world with a balanced pension system, it will find it impossible to sustain that without fresh blood. For now though, the government is not committed to any action that would stimulate the birth rate.

     

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    See also

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    01/12/2015 JAPAN – VATICAN
    Nuncio to Japan calls for engaging young people to defeat global warming
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    08/03/2016 17:25:00 JAPAN
    ‘Death with dignity’ debate troubling Japan, as it opens the door to euthanasia

    Health spending now stands at US$ 350 billion, one third for people over 75. With a low birth rate , the country’s population shrank for the first time last year. The issue is front and centre on TV, in newspapers and parliament. For one pro-life group, it would lead to “genetic selection”.



    24/03/2014 JAPAN
    Tokyo aims to curb health care costs: "Keep the elderly at home, stop long term hospitalizations"
    The country is aging at a seemingly unstoppable pace, the birth rate continues to decline and the cost of the hospital sector soars to 350 billion Euros per year. The government is trying to lower the numbers and announces a reduction in reimbursements for surgically inserted feeding tubes, which currently include 260 thousand elderly.

    02/01/2014 JAPAN
    Japan's 'empty cradles' threaten Shinzo Abe's recovery attempt
    For the seventh consecutive year, the number of births fell in Japan. For the 33rd consecutive year, the number of those under 15 years dropped as well. With the national economy in danger of collapse, the Church comes out in favour of more births.



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