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Japan births fall 4.7% on COVID baby bust

Country on pace for fewest newborns in 120 years, projections show

Health concerns and hospital restrictions from the coronavirus have led many prospective parents to delay having children. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- Total births in Japan fell 4.7% in the year through March to just over 850,000, according to new data published Tuesday by the health ministry, as uncertainty over the coronavirus accelerates the country's demographic crunch.

Japan saw 853,214 births in that 12-month period as people held off on marriage and children amid the pandemic. This trend could push Japan's births under the 800,000 mark as early as this year in a grim milestone in the nation's rapid population aging.

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