The Reading / Listening - Children - Level 6

The number of children in Japan has fallen to its lowest number since records began. There were 170,000 fewer children in Japan at the end of March 2018 than there were a year earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a report on Friday showing the falling numbers of children. According to the statistics, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutive year. There was another record fall in the ratio of children to the overall Japanese population. This dropped to a new record low of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of decline in a row. This ratio is the lowest among countries in the world with a population of 40 million or more.



Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to address the country's dwindling birth rate. He has introduced several measures to encourage lower-income families to have bigger families. However, these measures seem to be having little success. This is coupled with the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "ticking time-bomb" for Japan. The number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government began collecting data in 1899. Japanese demographers predict that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens. This means a rapidly aging society and a greatly diminishing workforce.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Children - Level 4  or  Children - Level 5

Sources
  • https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Japan-s-plunging-population-adds-urgency-to-immigration-talk
  • http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/04/c_137156459.htm
  • http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2144754/number-japanese-children-declines-37th-year-row-now-record-low


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. CHILDREN: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about children. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       children / Japan / records / statistics / consecutive / population / decline / low / ratio
       address / birth rate / measures / lower-income / success / annual / demographers
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. BIGGER FAMILIES: Students A strongly believe having a bigger family is best; Students B strongly believe otherwise.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. BIRTH RATE: Is a low or a high birth rate best for these things? Why? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

High is best

Low is best

Family

 

 

Schools

 

 

Transportation

 

 

Workplace

 

 

Hospitals

 

 

Army

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. RECORDS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "records". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. POPULATION: Rank these with your partner. Put the best ways to address a shrinking population at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • stop emigration
  • more working visas
  • downsize the economy
  • free schooling
  • better healthcare
  • increased immigration
  • procreation campaign
  • tax breaks for big families

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. records a. Taking everything into account; as a whole.
      2. issued b. As said or written by (someone).
      3. according to c. Following consecutively, one after the other.
      4. statistics d. Pieces of evidence  or documentation about the past, especially an account of an act or happening kept in writing or some other permanent form.
      5. consecutive e. The numerical relationship between two amounts, showing the number of times one value is contained in the other value.
      6. ratio f. Formally send out or made known.
      7. overall g. Facts or pieces of data from a study of a large quantity of numerical data / information.

    Paragraph 2

      8. address h. Combined.
      9. dwindling i. Someone who studies statistics such as births, deaths, income, or the incidence of disease, which show the changing structure of human populations.
      10. measures j. All the people in or available for work, either in a country or area or in a particular company or industry.
      11. coupled k. Gradually getting smaller and smaller in size, amount, or strength.
      12. demographers l. A process or procedure causing a problem that will eventually become very, very dangerous if no action is taken.
      13. time-bomb m. Plans or courses of action taken to achieve a particular purpose.
      14. workforce n. Think about and begin to deal with an issue or problem.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The number of children in Japan fell by 170,000 in 2017.     T / F
  2. The number of under-14s fell for the 37th year in a row.     T / F
  3. The ratio of children to the whole Japanese population hit a record low.   T / F
  4. Japan has the lowest ratio of children to the population in the world.     T / F
  5. Japan's leader has been very successful in increasing the birth rate.     T / F
  6. The number of babies born each year is always over one million.     T / F
  7. Japan's government began collecting data on births in 1899.     T / F
  8. There could be 23% fewer Japanese citizens by the year 2050.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. fallen
  2. records
  3. issued
  4. statistics
  5. in a row
  6. address
  7. dwindling
  8. measures
  9. predict
  10. greatly
  1. falling
  2. released
  3. consecutively
  4. actions
  5. documentation
  6. forecast
  7. deal with
  8. dropped
  9. considerably
  10. facts and figures

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. its lowest number since
  2. There were 170,000
  3. falling
  4. According
  5. This dropped to a new
  6. address the country's dwindling
  7. He has introduced several
  8. a ticking
  9. fell below one million
  10. a greatly diminishing
  1. to the statistics
  2. numbers
  3. for the first time
  4. birth rate
  5. measures
  6. workforce
  7. records began
  8. record low
  9. time-bomb
  10. fewer children

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
falling
low
records
population
overall
issued
decline
consecutive

The number of children in Japan has fallen to its lowest number since (1) ____________ began. There were 170,000 fewer children in Japan at the end of March 2018 than there were a year earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (2) ____________ a report on Friday showing the (3) ____________ numbers of children. According to the statistics, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th (4) ____________ year. There was another record fall in the ratio of children to the (5) ____________ Japanese population. This dropped to a new record (6) ____________ of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of (7) ____________ in a row. This ratio is the lowest among countries in the world with a (8) ____________ of 40 million or more.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
several
ticking
diminishing
address
coupled
predict
measures
data

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to (9) ____________ the country's dwindling birth rate. He has introduced (10) ____________ measures to encourage lower-income families to have bigger families. However, these (11) ____________ seem to be having little success. This is (12) ____________ with the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "(13) ____________ time-bomb" for Japan. The number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government began collecting (14) ____________ in 1899. Japanese demographers (15) ____________ that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens. This means a rapidly aging society and a greatly (16) ____________ workforce.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  The number of children in Japan has fallen to its lowest number since ______
     a.  record began
     b.  recordings began
     c.  records began
     d.  records begin
2)  There were 170,000 fewer children in Japan at ______ March
     a.  an ending of
     b.  the ends of
     c.  the end of
     d.  an end of
3)  ... and Communications issued a report on Friday showing ______
     a.  the failing numbers
     b.  the falling numbers
     c.  the fallen numbers
     d.  the falling numbers
4)  the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th ______
     a.  consecutively year
     b.  consecutives year
     c.  consecutive year
     d.  executive year
5)  This dropped to a new record low of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of ______
     a.  decline in a low
     b.  decline in a row
     c.  decline on a row
     d.  decline on a low

6)  Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to address the country's ______
     a.  dwindleing birth rate
     b.  dawdling birth rate
     c.  dwindle ring birth rate
     d.  de-wind all  birth rate
7)  He has introduced several measures to encourage ______
     a.  lower-income family
     b.  lower-incomes families
     c.  lowers-income families
     d.  lower-income families
8)  births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government ______
     a.  began collecting date a
     b.  began collecting dater
     c.  began collecting data
     d.  began collecting day ta
9)  Japanese demographers predict that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent ______
     a.  fewer citizens
     b.  fewer denizens
     c.  fewer netizens
     d.  fewer frozens
10)  This means a rapidly aging society and a ______ workforce
     a.  greatly diminished in
     b.  greatly diminishing
     c.  greatly diminish in
     d.  greatly dim in fishing

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

The number of children in Japan (1) ___________________ its lowest number since records began. There were 170,000 fewer children in Japan at the end of March 2018 (2) ___________________ a year earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a report on Friday showing the falling numbers of children. According (3) ___________________, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutive year. There (4) ___________________ fall in the ratio of children to the overall Japanese population. This dropped to a new (5) ___________________ 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of decline in a row. This ratio is (6) ___________________ countries in the world with a population of 40 million or more.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (7) ___________________ to address the country's (8) ___________________. He has introduced several measures to encourage lower-income families to have bigger families. However, these measures seem to be having little success. This (9) ___________________ the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "(10) ___________________" for Japan. The number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the (11) ___________________ the government began collecting data in 1899. Japanese demographers predict that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens. This means a (12) ___________________ and a greatly diminishing workforce.

Comprehension questions

  1. How many fewer children were there in Japan in the year to March 2018?
  2. What did Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issue?
  3. How many years in a row has the number of children in Japan fallen?
  4. What is the percentage of children to the whole Japanese population?
  5. For how many years in a row has Japan's children-population ratio fallen?
  6. What has Japan's leader been trying to address?
  7. Who has Shinzo Abe been trying to get to have larger families?
  8. What are fewer Japanese people doing?
  9. When did the number of annual births in Japan first fall below a million?
  10. What did the article say was "greatly diminishing"?




Multiple choice quiz

1) How many fewer children were there in Japan in the year to March 2018?
a) 107,000
b) 117,000
c) 170,000
d) 177,000
2) What did Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issue?
a) a report
b) a warning
c) a cry for help
d) a painting
3) How many years in a row has the number of children in Japan fallen?
a) 12
b) 44
c) 26
d) 37
4) What is the percentage of children to the whole Japanese population?
a) 13.2%
b) 12.3%
c) 12.2%
d) 13.3%
5) For how many years in a row has Japan's children-population ratio fallen?
a) 41
b) 43
c) 44
d) 47

6) What has Japan's leader been trying to address?
a) an envelope
b) Japan's dwindling birth rate
c) party issues
d) immigration
7) Who has Shinzo Abe been trying to get to have larger families?
a) rich people
b) people in cities
c) childless couples
d) lower-income families
8) What are fewer Japanese people doing?
a) complaining
b) getting married
c) dating
d) going out
9) When did the number of annual births in Japan first fall below a million?
a) 2016
b) 2006
c) 1996
d) 1976
10) What did the article say was "greatly diminishing"?
a) the economic miracle
b) hope
c) the aging society
d) Japan's workforce

Role play

Role  A – Better Healthcare
You think better healthcare is the best way to deal with a shrinking population. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their ways. Also, tell the others which is the least effective of these (and why): increased immigration, stopping emigration or downsizing the economy.

Role  B – Increased Immigration
You think increased immigration is the best way to deal with a shrinking population. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their ways. Also, tell the others which is the least effective of these (and why): better healthcare, stopping emigration or downsizing the economy.

Role  C – Stop Emigration
You think stopping emigration is the best way to deal with a shrinking population. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their ways. Also, tell the others which is the least effective of these (and why): increased immigration, better healthcare or downsizing the economy.

Role  D – Downsize the Economy
You think downsizing the economy is the best way to deal with a shrinking population. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their ways. Also, tell the others which is the least effective of these (and why):  increased immigration, stopping emigration or better healthcare.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'record'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'low'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • address
    • several
    • little
    • time
    • 2016
    • 2050
    • fallen
    • end
    • showing
    • 37
    • 12.3
    • 40




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Number of Japanese children at record low

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'children'?
    3. How useful and important are children?
    4. What problems are there with a falling birth rate?
    5. What's the best number of children to have?
    6. How can Japan's government increase the birth rate?
    7. Is a shrinking population a good thing?
    8. What more should governments do for children?
    9. What things about children annoy you?
    10. What was it like being a child?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'birth rate'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. How can a leader encourage couples to have more children?
    5. What support does your government give to families?
    6. Why do you think fewer Japanese people are getting married?
    7. Why is a low birth rate a "ticking time-bomb"?
    8. What things about children make you smile?
    9. What problems does an ageing workforce create?
    10. What questions would you like to ask Japan's prime minister?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    The (1) ____ of children in Japan has fallen to its lowest number since records began. There were 170,000 (2) ____ children in Japan at the end of March 2018 than there were a year earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a report on Friday showing the falling numbers of children. According to the (3) ____, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th (4) ____ year. There was another record fall in the ratio of children to the overall Japanese population. This dropped to a new record low of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of (5) ____ in a row. This ratio is the lowest among countries in the world with a population (6) ____ 40 million or more.

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to (7) ____ the country's dwindling birth rate. He has introduced several (8) ____ to encourage lower-income families to have bigger families. However, these measures seem to be having little success. This is (9) ____ with the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "(10) ____ time-bomb" for Japan. The number of (11) ____ births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government began collecting data in 1899. Japanese demographers predict (12) ____ by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens. This means a rapidly aging society and a greatly diminishing workforce.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     numeral     (b)     number     (c)     numbering     (d)     numbered    
    2. (a)     smaller     (b)     fewer     (c)     lesser     (d)     less    
    3. (a)     earliest     (b)     earlyish     (c)     early     (d)     earlier    
    4. (a)     consecutively     (b)     consecutive     (c)     conservative     (d)     conservatively    
    5. (a)     incline     (b)     decline     (c)     cline     (d)     recline    
    6. (a)     from     (b)     for     (c)     of     (d)     as    
    7. (a)     dress up     (b)     dressage     (c)     address     (d)     dressing    
    8. (a)     rulers     (b)     tapes     (c)     measures     (d)     metres    
    9. (a)     muffled     (b)     doubted     (c)     doubled     (d)     coupled    
    10. (a)     ticking     (b)     tickling     (c)     tricking     (d)     sticking    
    11. (a)     annual     (b)     year     (c)     annum     (d)     12 months    
    12. (a)     what     (b)     which     (c)     that     (d)     thus

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. According to the tctsitasis
    2. for the 37th ectcovnuesi year
    3. the lvaerol Japanese population
    4. the 44th year of incldee
    5. This aotri is the lowest
    6. a population of 40 mnilloi

    Paragraph 2

    1. the country's ldidginnw birth rate
    2. introduced several uremaess
    3. uoeplcd with the fact that
    4. The number of launan births in 2016 fell
    5. 23 per cent fewer itsnzice
    6. a greatly nidsngihimi workforce

    Put the text back together

    1  ) The number of children in Japan has fallen to its lowest number since records began. There were 170,000 fewer
    (...)  fall in the ratio of children to the overall Japanese population. This dropped to a new record
    (...)  rate. He has introduced several measures to encourage lower-income families to have bigger
    (...)  citizens. This means a rapidly aging society and a greatly diminishing workforce.
    (...)  data in 1899. Japanese demographers predict that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer
    (...)  Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying to address the country's dwindling birth
    (...)  countries in the world with a population of 40 million or more.
    (...)  of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutive year. There was another record
    (...)  a report on Friday showing the falling numbers of children. According to the statistics, the number
    (...)  families. However, these measures seem to be having little success. This is coupled with the fact that fewer
    (...)  children in Japan at the end of March 2018 than there were a year earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued
    (...)  low of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of decline in a row. This ratio is the lowest among
    (...)  Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "ticking time-
    (...)  bomb" for Japan. The number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government began collecting

    Put the words in the right order

    1. began   .   lowest   since   Fallen   to   its   records   number
    2. end   the   of   at   children   Fewer   March   .   in   Japan
    3. aged   14   of   children   The   number   under   .   or
    4. to   a   of   low   record   new   cent   .   dropped   12   .3   This   per
    5. is   This   among   countries   .   ratio   the   lowest
    6. to   country's   dwindling   birth   Trying   the   rate   .   address
    7. families   .   Encourage   to   families   bigger   have   lower-income
    8. Demographers   say   "ticking   is   a   this   time-bomb"   .
    9. Fell   for   first   million   one   the   time   .   below
    10. have   will   per   citizens   .   cent   23   Japan   fewer

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    The number of children in Japan has felled / fallen to its lowest number since records began. There were 170,000 fewer / less children in Japan at the end of March 2018 than there were a year earlyish / earlier. Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a report on Friday shown / showing the falling numbers of children. According to / at the statistics, the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutively / consecutive year. There was another record fall in the ratio / patio of children to the overall / overalls Japanese population. This dropped to a new record low of 12.3 per cent and was the 44th year of decline in a low / row. This ratio is the lowest among countries in the world with a population for / of 40 million or more.

    Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying / tried to address the country's dwindling / dawdling birth rate. He has introduced several / severance measures to encourage lower-income families to have bigger families. However, these measures seen / seem to be having little success. This is coupled / doubled with the fact that fewer Japanese people are getting married, which demographers say is a "ticking / tickling time-bomb" for Japan. The number of annual births in 2016 fall / fell below one million for the first time since / for the government began collecting data in 1899. Japanese demographers predict that by 2050, Japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizenry / citizens. This means a rapidly agreeing / aging society and a greatly diminishing workforce.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    T h_  n_m b_r  _f   c h_l d r_n  _n   J_p_n   h_s   f_l l_n   t_ _t s   l_w_s t   n_m b_r   s_n c_  r_c_r d s   b_g_n .   T h_r_  w_r_  1 7 0 , 0 0 0   f_w_r   c h_l d r_n  _n   J_p_n  _t   t h_ _n d  _f   M_r c h   2 0 1 8   t h_n   t h_r_  w_r_ _  y__ r  __ r l__ r .   J_p_n ' s   M_n_s t r y  _f   I n t_r n_l   A f f__ r s  _n d   C_m m_n_c_t__ n s  _s s__ d  _  r_p_r t  _n   F r_d_y   s h_w_n g   t h_  f_l l_n g   n_m b_r s  _f   c h_l d r_n .   A c c_r d_n g   t_  t h_  s t_t_s t_c s ,   t h_  n_m b_r  _f   c h_l d r_n  _g_d   1 4  _r  _n d_r   d r_p p_d   f_r   t h_  3 7 t h   c_n s_c_t_v_  y__ r .   T h_r_  w_s  _n_t h_r   r_c_r d   f_l l  _n   t h_  r_t__  _f   c h_l d r_n   t_  t h_ _v_r_l l   J_p_n_s_  p_p_l_t__ n .   T h_s   d r_p p_d   t_ _  n_w   r_c_r d   l_w  _f   1 2 . 3   p_r   c_n t  _n d   w_s   t h_  4 4 t h   y__ r  _f   d_c l_n_ _n  _  r_w .   T h_s   r_t__  _s   t h_  l_w_s t  _m_n g   c__ n t r__ s  _n   t h_  w_r l d   w_t h  _  p_p_l_t__ n  _f   4 0   m_l l__ n  _r   m_r_.

    J_p_n ' s   P r_m_  M_n_s t_r   S h_n z_  A b_  h_s   b__ n   t r y_n g   t_ _d d r_s s   t h_  c__ n t r y ' s   d w_n d l_n g   b_r t h   r_t_.   H_  h_s  _n t r_d_c_d   s_v_r_l   m__ s_r_s   t_ _n c__ r_g_  l_w_r -_n c_m_  f_m_l__ s   t_  h_v_  b_g g_r   f_m_l__ s .   H_w_v_r ,   t h_s_  m__ s_r_s   s__ m   t_  b_  h_v_n g   l_t t l_  s_c c_s s .   T h_s  _s   c__ p l_d   w_t h   t h_  f_c t   t h_t   f_w_r   J_p_n_s_  p__ p l_ _r_  g_t t_n g   m_r r__ d ,   w h_c h   d_m_g r_p h_r s   s_y  _s  _  " t_c k_n g   t_m_- b_m b "   f_r   J_p_n .   T h_  n_m b_r  _f  _n n__ l   b_r t h s  _n   2 0 1 6   f_l l   b_l_w  _n_  m_l l__ n   f_r   t h_  f_r s t   t_m_  s_n c_  t h_  g_v_r n m_n t   b_g_n   c_l l_c t_n g   d_t_ _n   1 8 9 9 .   J_p_n_s_  d_m_g r_p h_r s   p r_d_c t   t h_t   b y   2 0 5 0 ,   J_p_n   w_l l   h_v_  2 3   p_r   c_n t   f_w_r   c_t_z_n s .   T h_s   m__ n s  _  r_p_d l y  _g_n g   s_c__ t y  _n d  _  g r__ t l y   d_m_n_s h_n g   w_r k f_r c_.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    the number of children in japan has fallen to its lowest number since records began there were 170000 fewer children in japan at the end of march 2018 than there were a year earlier japans ministry of internal affairs and communications issued a report on friday showing the falling numbers of children according to the statistics the number of children aged 14 or under dropped for the 37th consecutive year there was another record fall in the ratio of children to the overall japanese population this dropped to a new record low of 123 per cent and was the 44th year of decline in a row this ratio is the lowest among countries in the world with a population of 40 million or more

    japans prime minister shinzo abe has been trying to address the countrys dwindling birth rate he has introduced several measures to encourage lower income families to have bigger families however these measures seem to be having little success this is coupled with the fact that fewer japanese people are getting married which demographers say is a ticking time bomb for japan the number of annual births in 2016 fell below one million for the first time since the government began collecting data in 1899 japanese demographers predict that by 2050 japan will have 23 per cent fewer citizens this means a rapidly aging society and a greatly diminishing workforce

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    ThenumberofchildreninJapanhasfallentoitslowestnumbersincerecor
    dsbegan.Therewere170,000fewerchildreninJapanattheendofMarch
    2018thantherewereayearearlier.Japan'sMinistryofInternalAffairsan
    dCommunicationsissuedareportonFridayshowingthefallingnumbers
    ofchildren.Accordingtothestatistics,thenumberofchildrenaged14or
    underdroppedforthe37thconsecutiveyear.Therewasanotherrecordf
    allintheratioofchildrentotheoverallJapanesepopulation.Thisdropped
    toanewrecordlowof12.3percentandwasthe44thyearofdeclineinarow
    .Thisratioisthelowestamongcountriesintheworldwithapopulationof4
    0millionormore.Japan'sPrimeMinisterShinzoAbehasbeentryingtoad
    dressthecountry'sdwindlingbirthrate.Hehasintroducedseveralmeas
    urestoencouragelower-incomefamiliestohavebiggerfamilies.Howe
    ver,thesemeasuresseemtobehavinglittlesuccess.Thisiscoupledwith
    thefactthatfewerJapanesepeoplearegettingmarried,whichdemogra
    pherssayisa"tickingtime-bomb"forJapan.Thenumberofannualbirth
    sin2016fellbelowonemillionforthefirsttimesincethegovernmentbega
    ncollectingdatain1899.Japanesedemographerspredictthatby2050,J
    apanwillhave23percentfewercitizens.Thismeansarapidlyagingsocie
    tyandagreatlydiminishingworkforce.

    Free writing

    Write about children for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    Governments need to do more to encourage bigger families. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. CHILDREN: Make a poster about children. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. INCREASE BIRTH RATES: Write a magazine article about countries doing more to increase birth rates. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on birth rates. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your ideas on how countries can increase birth rates. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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