In Japan, almost 450,000 more people died than were born in 2018

Another new low.
Another new low.
Image: REUTERS/Issei Kato
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Japan keeps on getting smaller.

The fewest number of babies were born this year since records began in 1899, according to government figures, with only 921,000 born in 2018—the third straight year it has been below 1 million. That figure is down 25,000 from 2017, which itself was a record. The number of deaths were 1.37 million—a postwar record. Meaning that the population decline was 449,000 in 2018.

The Japan Times reported that it seems increasingly unlikely that the country will achieve its goal of getting the fertility rate to 1.8 by 2025, It was 1.43 last year, well below the 2.1 births on average per childbearing woman in the population in the 1970s.

As Quartz has noted, by median age, Japan is the oldest large country in the world. Other nations have experienced similar declines in the native population, but have turned to immigration to make up the difference. (Which has led to its own problems, but that is another issue.)

Japan as a nation has historically been wary of immigration. But, desperate times. Japan is poised to allow non-skilled labor for the first time in its history from April 2019. Some of the measures will encourage foreigners to base themselves outside of the capital.

With some regions so devoid of people, it is considering paying as much as 3 million yen ($27,000) to anyone relocate from Tokyo to the provinces.