Japanese leaders are worried about the nation's demographics, and new population figures help explain why:
- Fewest births: The number of babies born in 2018 is estimated at 921,000, the lowest figure since record-keeping began in 1899, reports the Japan Times. That's down 25,000 from the previous year.
- Record deaths: At the same time, Japan recorded 1.37 million deaths, a post-war high.
- Population: Japan recorded its highest-ever decline in natural population, a figure of 448,000. The population now stands at 124 million but is on track to drop to 88 million by 2065, reports CNN. One big reason? More than 20% of the population is older than 65.
- Remedies: The government is providing more help on everything from preschools to day care centers as part of an effort to encourage parents to have kids. In the meantime, more and more robots are showing up in restaurants and stores to buttress the shrinking workforce, reports NPR.
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