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East Asia faces population drop 10 years earlier than anticipated

China, South Korea and Taiwan follow Japan into low birthrate economic woes

A newborn is taken care of in a hospital in Wuhan, China, in March 2020. Many couples in East Asia are putting off having children amid the pandemic.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- East Asia has entered an era of population decline. Japan was the first to show a clear trend of sustained falls, but now China, South Korea and Taiwan are too.

Last year, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong all posted natural population declines -- meaning there were more deaths than births -- for the first time since comparable data became available. And the number of newborns seems to have declined significantly in mainland China as well.

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