05/05/2017, 14.57
JAPAN
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Tokyo, never so few children. Only 15.71 million under 15

More than 890 rural communities are in danger of extinction by 2040. 8.05 million males, 7.67 million females. Children account for 12.4% of the total population. The Tokyo Prefecture is in contradiction with the rest of the country. Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi: "This trend can affect the very existence of parishes." 

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - Japan's birth-rate continues to plunge. Starting from 1 April, the number of children under 15 years of age stands at 15.71 million, down 170,000 compared to the previous year, the worst since 1950.

According to a government survey released today marking National Children's Day, the figure reported a contraction for the 36th consecutive year and represents nearly half the peak in 1954, equal to 29.88 million. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has estimated the figure based on the national census data.

Children account for 12.4% of the total population. The percentage dropped to almost a third from 35.4 percent in 1950, the highest ever recorded. Of the 15.71 million children, 8.05 million are males, while 7.67 million are females.

In contrast with the rest of the country, the Tokyo Prefecture is the only one to record year after year an increase in the young population. The aging of society is in fact a problem that is aggravated in rural areas.

A 2015 government expert's report on demography in Japan showed that by 2040, the decline in the population could force more than 890 rural communities into extinction. Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, bishop of Niigata, commented on the data with great concern for the life of the Catholic Church in the country.

"This trend may affect the very existence of the parishes," Msgr. Kikuchi told AsiaNews. "Given that the recent economic situation in Japan is not conducive to raising many children, it is irresponsible for the Catholic Church to impose a policy of more children, while many families are suffering from financial difficulties caused by children’s education without the support of the government." 

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