Japan’s birth rate falls to a historic low as the government issues a “critical state” warning.

According to official statistics, Japan’s birth rate dropped for the eighth year in a row last year, reaching a record low. A senior official believes the nation must reverse this trend over the next six years.

The Health and Welfare Ministry said on Tuesday that the number of newborns born in Japan in 2023 will be 758,631, a 5.1% decrease from the year before. Since Japan began keeping data in 1899, this was the lowest number of births. 

One of the main causes of the decline in births is the 5.9% drop in weddings to 489,281 couples, which is less than 500,000 for the first time in 90 years. In Japan, the prevalence of unmarried children is low due to traditional patriarchal family norms.

Is Nagi the key to repopulating Japan? Baby boomtown? Many younger Japanese people are reluctant to get married or have kids, according to surveys. This is because they see little opportunity for employment, the cost of living is rising faster than income, and corporate cultures do not support two working parents. Young parents frequently report feeling alone, and crying newborns and kids playing outside are becoming more and more viewed as nuisances. The continuous decline in the birthrate has reached a “critical state,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday. “We may have one last chance to buck the trend during the next six years or so until the younger population starts declining rapidly in the 2030s,” he stated. “Waste time is not an option.” The low birthrate has been dubbed “the biggest crisis Japan faces” by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has presented a package of measures that include increased assistance and subsidies, primarily for childbirth, children, and their families.

The government’s efforts, however, are unlikely to be successful, according to analysts, as they have up to now mostly targeted individuals who are already married or want to be married, failing to sufficiently address the rising number of young people who are unwilling to take that step.

Since it peaked at about 2.1 million fifty years ago, the number of births has been declining. In contrast to prior forecasts, which indicated that the reduction would occur by 2035, the yearly figure below 760,000 has decreased more quickly.

By 2070, Japan’s population of about 125 million is expected to have decreased by almost 30% to 87 million, with four out of ten individuals being 65 years of age or older. As the nation works to strengthen its military in response to China’s more assertive territorial aspirations, a declining and aging population has significant effects on both the national economy and security.

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