0543 GMT December 17, 2017
The official figures, released on Wednesday, show that the number of newborns in Japan dropped to 1,001,000 in 2014, 29,000 less than the figure for 2013.
An official at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare warned that a further drop in the number of newborns is expected as “the number of reproductive-age women is on the decline.”
The official said a margin of error of 1,000 is estimated for the latest data, which suggests the number of newborn babies may hit below 1 million when new population statistics are released in June.
The falling birthrate compounds the problem of an aging population in Japan, as the number of deaths in the country in 2014 rose to a postwar high of 1,269,000, which marks an increase of about 1,000. The top four leading causes of death in the country were cancer, heart disease, pneumonia and cerebrovascular disease.
According to statistics, by 2050, people aged 65 and over would make up around 40 percent of Japan’s population. The decline in the working age may lead to a shrinking economy if productivity does not increase faster than the rate of its decreasing workforce.