Number of children in Japan falls for 23rd year running

Posted: 7 May 2004

The Japanese government marked 'Children's Day' by announcing that the number of children in Japan has fallen for a 23rd year in a row.

The Ministry of Public Management said the number of those aged under 15 fell by 200,000 in the year to April 1 to 17.81 million. The latest figures give Japan the world's lowest number of children as a proportion of the overall population.

The ratio of children to the total population was a record low of 13.9 per cent, down 0.2 per cent from the previous year.

In contrast, the ratio of people aged 65 or older rose to 19.3 per cent in 2004 from 9.1 per cent in 1980 and 4.9 per cent in 1950.

With the population forecast to peak by 2006, the nation is facing a looming crisis of providing for its old people.

The latest figures compared with recent statistics showing child populations in other countries standing at 21 per cent in the United States, around 18-19 per cent in France, Britain and Canada and 34.4 per cent in India.

Source: Agence France-Presse reported in Push Journal 05/May/04

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