Tokyo/Xinhua: Japan's number of newborn babies in 2020 is expected to decrease to around 845,000, hitting a new record low, local media reported Saturday.
Before finalizing the figure, the Japanese government will release an initial estimate in December. The number is likely to reach a record low for the fifth straight year, government sources were quoted as saying.
The figure will log a sharp drop compared to the 865,239 in 2019, marking the lowest since comparable data became available 120 years ago.
The preliminary number of babies born between January and August this year stood at 580,000, down 2.3 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of pregnancies reported during the first half of the year, a basis to estimate the number of newborns between September and December, declined as well.
"Anxiety about the outlook of the economy due to the pandemic may continue to have a negative impact," Kyodo quoted one of the government sources. "The number of newborns may fall below 800,000 next year."
Japan's number of newborns fell below 1 million for the first time in 2016, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. The decline is induced as more people opt out of marriage or get married at a later age.
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