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Japan's steepening birthrate decline defies policy support

Coronavirus risks worse rich-nation dilemma from South Korea to France

A kindergarten in Japan: The country's birthrate has hit a 12-year low. (Photo by Kotaro Igarashi)

TOKYO -- Japan on Friday announced its lowest fertility rate since 2007, marking four years of decline and underscoring a persistent challenge that countries from South Korea to France have yet to solve.

Japan's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman will give birth to in her lifetime -- dropped 0.6 point to 1.36 last year, though it remains above the record low of 1.26 set in 2005. Tokyo logged the lowest rate of any of the country's regions, reaching just 1.15.

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