5-speed listening (Children - Level 4)

Number of Japanese children at record low






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Japan has its fewest number of children since records began. There were 170,000 fewer children in March 2018 than in March 2017. Japan's government issued a report showing the statistics. The number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th year in a row. There was also a record low of 12.3 per cent in the ratio of children to the whole population. This ratio is the lowest among countries with a population of over 40 million.

Japan's prime minister has taken action to encourage lower-income families to have more children. However, these have not worked so well. Furthermore, fewer Japanese people are getting married. Statisticians say this is a "ticking time-bomb". The number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since records began in 1899. By 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens. This means an aging society and a reducing workforce.

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