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Birth Rate Declines Below 1.00 for 1st Time in Tokyo

The birth rate in Tokyo declined below 1.00 for the first time last year, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

The average number of children that women in Tokyo give birth to in their lifetime came to 0.98 in 2005, the lowest of all the nation's 47 prefectures. It is followed by Nara (1.12) and, Kyoto and Hokkaido (1.13 each).

Okinawa had the highest birth rate last year at 1.71, followed by Fukui (1.47), Miyazaki and Fukushima (1.46 each).

It was earlier announced that the nationwide birth rate last year hit a record low of 1.25.

Alarmed by the longstanding downward trend in the nation's birth rate, the government has already set up a consultative body on the declining birth rate and is set to work out comprehensive countermeasures by the end of this month.

However, the latest figures have demonstrated it will be difficult to put the brakes on the decline.

The ministry attributes the decline in the birth rate to marriage trends and giving birth at more advanced ages.

Last year, approximately 714,000 couples married, down more than 6,000 from the year earlier. The average age at which women marry for the first time rose 0.2 to 28 years old, and the average age at which women give birth to their first child also increased by 0.2 to 29.1, the ministry pointed out. (Mainichi)

Source Mainichi NEWS