5-speed listening (Children - Level 5)

Number of Japanese children at record low






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There are the fewest number of children in Japan since records began. There were 170,000 fewer children in the year ending March 2018 than in the previous year. Japan's government issued a report showing the falling numbers. According to the statistics, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutive year. There was also a record low of 12.3 per cent in the ratio of children to the overall population. This was the 44th year of decline in a row. This ratio is the lowest among countries with a population of 40 million or more.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to address the country's dwindling birth rate. He introduced measures to encourage lower-income families to have more children. However, these have had little success. This is coupled with the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married. Demographers 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 greatly reduced workforce.

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