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Despite Japan's best efforts, births hit new low

Global trend of weak wage growth leaves people reluctant to marry

A newborn at a hospital in Tokyo. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- Births in Japan hit a record low last year, as people struggle to balance work and child care despite government subsidies and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's work-style reforms.

Japan had 946,060 births in 2017, the health ministry said Friday. The tally dropped by more than 30,000 for the first time in 12 years, falling further below the 1 million mark. Annual births in Japan peaked at 2.69 million in 1949.

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