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Births in Japan Hit a Record Low
According to preliminary data, the number of births in Japan fell to another record low in 2022. Deaths rose to a record high and once again outpaced births.
Last December, we wrote that Japan might record fewer than 800K births in CY 2022. (See “Births in Japan Tumble.”) And indeed, that’s precisely what happened.
According to preliminary 2022 data, the number of births fell to 799,728. That’s a -5.1% YoY decline. And, once again, it marks the lowest official birth total ever recorded. (Japan’s first recorded birth number was 1.39M in 1899.)
Assuming that the decline in births (-5.1%) translates into a proportional decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR), Japan’s TFR likely fell from 1.30 to roughly 1.23. While that’s not as low as some other East Asian countries like South Korea (0.78) or Taiwan (0.98), it’s still well below the replacement rate (2.1). (See “Asian TFRs Are in a Race to the Bottom.”)
Japan also registered the highest number of deaths since WWII: 1.58M. That’s a +9.9% YoY increase. Ultimately, Japan’s “natural increase” (births minus deaths) was -782K. That’s the largest decline ever recorded.
We have written several recent NewsWires on Japan’s pricey initiatives to boost fertility. (See “Japan Plans to Double Spending on Pronatalist Policies.”) And these new numbers will only add fuel to the fire. After the statistics were released, an aide to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that “if we go on like this, the country will disappear.”