Births fall below 1 million

The rate represents the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in her lifetime, covering those aged 15-49.

The number of newborns in 2016 totaled 976,979, down by 28,698 from the preceding year, reflecting a drop in the number of women of childbearing age, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths came to a postwar high of 1,307,765, up by 17,321. Of the nation’s 47 prefectures, only Okinawa saw the number of births top that of deaths. The most common cause of death was cancer, accounting for 29 percent of the total deaths, followed by heart diseases, for 15 percent, and pneumonia, for 9 percent.

Japan’s natural population decrease thus came to 330,786 in 2016. Deaths outpaced births for the 10th straight year, with the size of net population decline continuing to expand during the period. In 2005, Japan posted its first net population decline since the end of World War II.

The total fertility rate in Japan in 2016 fell 0.01 point from the previous year to 1.44, while the number of babies born last year slipped below one million for the first time, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in an annual demographic survey on Friday. (

Sota Fujii, the youngest professional shogi player, extended the winning streak since his pro debut to a 20th official game on Friday. (Jiji)

Japanese police have arrested 5 women for allegedly trying to smuggle gold from South Korea through an airport in central Japan. (NHK)

Investigative sources say a group arrested on suspicion of smuggling apparent gold into Japan on a small boat had met another ship from China on open waters. (NHK)

Japanese business leaders on Friday questioned President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. (Japan Today)

China said on Friday a Japanese citizen was being investigated for harming national security, following a similar case last month in which China said six Japanese were being questioned on suspicion of illegal activity. (Japan Today)

The Bank of Japan said Friday its total assets, such as its holdings of Japanese government bonds, stocks and other securities, has topped 500 trillion yen for the first time ever. (Jiji)

The inflow of international funds into information technology and semiconductors powered the Nikkei Stock Average’s recovery Friday to above 20,000. But the automotive and financial sectors are faltering, highlighting the gap between Japanese equities and their foreign peers. (Nikkei)

Ibaraki Prefectural Police are seeking the help of the public in locating a man who robbed a convenience store in Tsukubamirai City on Thursday without speaking, reports TV Asahi. (

The US military is dispatching the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to the Western Pacific Ocean as a response to North Korea’s repeated missile launches and the increased maritime activities by China. (NHK)

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