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Births in Japan hit record low in 2020; deaths down for first time in over a decade

54 Comments
By SoraNews24

Last October, it was reported that the birth rate in Japan took a big plunge after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. State of emergencies led to significantly less socializing, and couples planning on having a child no doubt put off said plans until a less deadly-virus-riddled time.

Now that the year has come to a close, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare are crunching the numbers and have come up with a preliminary total of 827,683 births across the country in 2020. When all is said and done, they expect a final tally of between 830,000 and 840,000, which is still well below 2019’s birth count of 856,239 and the lowest on record.

Moreover, COVID-19 didn’t become a huge concern in Japan until about late February or March, meaning a lot of people were caught with a bun in the oven already when the pandemic got into full swing. Since many others are probably still putting off baby-making until the coast is clear, we can’t expect many pregnancy attempts to even get started in earnest until late 2021, when the vaccines have been made available to everyone.

As a result, the ministry is forecasting the possibility that births will even dip below the 800,000 mark over this year.

On the bright side, they have also announced that deaths were down by 9,373 from the previous year with a preliminary total of 1,384,544 in 2020. That might seem small percentage-wise but considering the relentlessly aging population here, Japan has been pretty much been consigned to an ever increasing death rate for the next few decades to come.

The fact that any decrease took place is significant and this is the first time it’s happened since 2009. As Megadeth likes to remind us, there are at least 99 ways to die, so it’s hard to pinpoint why this is, but the fact that cases of Japan’s perennial killer, the flu, has plummeted by an amazing 99.4 percent on average this season is probably a big factor.

Nevertheless, news that fewer new faces would be arriving this year left many commenters feeling doom and gloom, but some were warming up to a possible future with less people around.

“It’s kind of good. If there are fewer people, less food will be needed and there will be less harm to the environment.”

“We should start preparing for a population of about 50 million now.”

“They said the point of raising sales tax was for future generations, but there aren’t going to be future generations.”

“Of course, with this virus people can’t even get married properly anymore.”

“Who would want to have a baby now of all times?”

“I guess we’re going to call these kids the ‘Corona Generation.'”

Sadly, that last comment is probably true, since we can expect those delayed pregnancies to come back in full swing in 2022 and cause the birthrate to spike. This will leave us with a two-year mini-generation that will cause quite a hiccup in social services, namely the already struggling educational system.

Hopefully they won’t be given such a bleak and pathogenic nickname though.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Weather News, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese Twitter realizes that talking about the NES now is the same as old men talking about WW2

-- Population aging in Japan gets a corona-boost as pregnancies drop by 11 percent this year

-- Japanese PM asks schools around Japan to close as coronavirus cases rise

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments

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On the bright side, they have also announced that deaths were down by 9,373 from the previous year with a preliminary total of 1,384,544 in 2020.

Apparently you're less likely to die while Corona is circulating in the air then when it isn't.

3 ( +19 / -16 )

meaning a lot of people were caught with a bun in the oven

The big Ooops! , Run away child support , $1.2 Million dollars until it reaches 18.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

“They said the point of raising sales tax was for future generations,

The point of raising sales tax was not for future generations, but to keep the politicians, bureaucrats, and their friends still able to go out and wine and dine on our dime.

but there aren’t going to be future generations.”

the politicians don't give a damn about the people or the future generations. they'll just take care of their friends and family and leave the rest of the people to fend for themselves. But the people did bring it upon themselves. They keep electing those same fools over and over again.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

I've never understood why people feel the need to waste millions on a "fake" ceremony and party for people they hardly know. Then live in a tiny rented apartment saving to buy a place of their own. Well, actually I do understand. Its all about the parents saving face and looking how they thing others expect them too..

9 ( +18 / -9 )

So, the pandemic has actually not been the mass killer that we have been told it would be?

Less deaths under the virus than with it.

Well, that in itself is a reason for me not to be vaccinated and deliberately made sick when there is no need...

-8 ( +14 / -22 )

So, the pandemic has actually not been the mass killer that we have been told it would be?

Look around, do you think 2020 was a normal year without anything out of the ordinary?

The pandemic danger come from letting it run wild swamping the health system and killing people directly and indirectly, huge efforts were made to stop this as anybody that lost their jobs or business can tell you if you ask them. The situation in Japan is still in the good side of the problem. Your comment is like saying "wow that brick to the head was not even so bad, maybe next time I will not even wear a helmet"

5 ( +19 / -14 )

Not sure why they have given the death figures to the unit and not be able to get the births figures. Fishy to me since it should be the opposite...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"On the bright side, they have also announced that deaths were down by 9,373 from the previous year"

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Fear mongerers are going to have a tough time explaining how deaths are down during this “catastrophic” pandemic.

There is absolutely no reason to continue killing the economy, that brings along with it adverse social and psychological effects.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Fear mongerers are going to have a tough time explaining how deaths are down during this “catastrophic” pandemic.

No, it's really easy. People staying home, going out and doing less, while being more careful about their health, equals less deaths. I'm not even a "fear mongerer", but I can clearly see why there could be less deaths this year.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The thought of the mindset of "The Corona Generation" is just boggling...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

deaths are down !

so all these lock-down merchants & test counters were worrying, fretting & panicking for a year because....?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The pandemic and responses have had a big impact on the demography with long term effects. Most covid-related deaths are very old (in Japan, some dying of covid outlast the average life) while the government has to spend resources saving their lives at the expense of younger lives (in debts). This is a serious ethical dilemma. I never suggest letting old patients die without care. Rather I'm worried that young generations and future have been sacrificed largely and quite tacitly under an aged dominant society.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

Same thing in Norway.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Why is it so difficult to understand that deaths are down ? The near universal wearing of masks prevented flu infections. There are also significant less traffic deaths

one striking thing is that sharp reductions in heart and cancer treatments have not lead to more deaths and that shows how many unnecessary surgical procedures are performed. I know, early to make that a definite conclusion but stil.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

I wasn't social for a whole year, wore a mask while shopping. I didn't get COVID.

See, it proves social distancing and masks don't work!!!

Seriously, people, your 'logic' hurts my head.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

Same thing in Norway.

Australia, New Zealand... need we go on?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why is it so difficult to understand that deaths are down ? The near universal wearing of masks prevented flu infections. There are also significant less traffic deaths

exactly. Not to mention working from home most likely led to less karoshi... people were going out less in the summer meant less people dying from heatstroke...

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

Same thing in Norway.

In France, less under 65's died in 2020 than in 2019.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

In France, less under 65's died in 2020 than in 2019

Almost as if they also did extremely costly measures to control infective respiratory diseases that modified normal life profoundly.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

On the bright side, they have also announced that deaths were down by 9,373 from the previous year with a preliminary total of 1,384,544 in 2020. 

A pre-pandemic outlook projected more than 1,4million deaths in 2020, meaning, more people were supposed to die without covid. Japan is an aging society, and quite naturally the total death numbers are inevitably increasing. The 2020 result is extraordinary but unnatural. One can say it's only a shift or schedule push-back as we all are mortal.

More importantly, at what price we have achieved this? The pandemic is responsible for increasing suicides/suicide attempts (among young working age, women in particular) and decreasing birth numbers. For public policy, a reasonable and balanced approach is necessary.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

justbcuzisayToday 10:45 am JST

I wasn't social for a whole year, wore a mask while shopping. I didn't get COVID.

See, it proves social distancing and masks don't work!!!

Seriously, people, your 'logic' hurts my head.

I continued hugging people and didn't wear a mask while shopping. I also didn't get COVID.

Both anecdotal, both not proving anything one way or another.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

Same thing in Norway.

Australia, New Zealand... need we go on?

Really?

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show in 2019-20, there were 166,974 deaths across Australia, up from 163,013 in 2018-19.

Deaths rose in 2020 as Australia aged

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7060237/deaths-rose-in-2020-as-australia-aged/

It was the highest year-on-year increase in the six years of data released by the bureau.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Blitzwing

Both anecdotal, both not proving anything one way or another.

That was the point.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Deaths not just down, but down for the 1st time in 10 years. During what was supposed to be the Apocalypse we were told.

Why is it so difficult to understand that deaths are down ? The near universal wearing of masks prevented flu infections.

As everyone knows, Japanese have been wearing masks during the winter months for years. But does the increased use point to a shocking 99.4% decrease in influenza?

There are also significant less traffic deaths

Yes. 376 less than than 2019 according to a National Police Association survey. So lets take that out of the equation.

That still doesn't explain the strange decrease in deaths by over 9000 during a "pandemic".

In the US, excess mortality figure were up by about a percentage point as it had been year on year for about 5 years. But grew at a smaller pace than any other year in 5 years.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The pandemic has not been the mass killer that we have been told it would be.

However, the economic malaise and the deaths by depression are most certainly going to be more deadly than Covid...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Really?

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show in 2019-20, there were 166,974 deaths across Australia, up from 163,013 in 2018-19.

Deaths rose in 2020 as Australia aged

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7060237/deaths-rose-in-2020-as-australia-aged/

It was the highest year-on-year increase in the six years of data released by the bureau.

Read it again. The increase was only until June due to the pandemic.

from the same article YOU posted

Data collected by the ABS during the COVID-19 pandemic actually shows excess deaths in Australia have declined this year, Dr Allen said.

> "The decline in excess deaths is due to the additional public health measures Australians have taken during 2020; for example, washing hands, social distancing, avoiding work when sick, and flu vaccination," she said.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Say what you want Yamada, but to say that Japan is doing better than OZ NZ or Norway is laughable at best

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Data collected by the ABS during the COVID-19 pandemic actually shows excess deaths in Australia have declined this year, Dr Allen said."

That is excess death not total deaths. Australia's total deaths increased!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Say what you want Yamada, but to say that Japan is doing better than OZ NZ or Norway is laughable at best"

But it is and my opinion is based on solid facts. Look at the facts:

Australia avg age 37

NZ avg age 37.6

Japan ave age 48.4

Japan is older than either Aus or NZ

Now look at CFR (CASE-FATALITY ratio

NZ 1.1

Aus 3.1

Japan 1.8%

NZ is lower than Japan's but Japan's lower than Aus's

But Japan has older population so you would expect it to higher than both NZ and Aus. but it is not. only NZ is lower by only .7 and the difference meaningless given the age difference.

Do have any facts or just opinion and biased one at that?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

NZ is lower than Japan's but Japan's lower than Aus's

only NZ is lower by only .7 and the difference meaningless given the age difference.

that STILL contradicts your original post

Fewer Japanese died during a Pandemic. I wonder if any other country can make the same claim?

Turns out there ARE other countries that can make the same claim.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

justbcuzisayToday 01:28 pm JST

That was the point.

Ah, my bad! Allow me to "+" your comment then :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But it is and my opinion is based on solid facts.

Your facts are not solid at all. We all have been saying for months that the government numbers are flawed due to the low testing

Now look at CFR (CASE-FATALITY ratio

In order to do that we would need japan to test on the same level per capita as the countries you are trying to compare it with, and we all know that it doesn't.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The pandemic has not been the mass killer that we have been told it would have been if we did not take the measures we took.

^fixed it.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"Turns out there ARE other countries that can make the same claim."

Yes, you are correct. two

Norway 63 fewer deaths

Nz 1660 fewer deaths

Japan 9373 fewer deaths

But Aus is not one of them.

and Japan has oldest demographic on Earth. So why did fewer Japanese die during the pandemic?

Good Government! Those are the facts!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

On top of that, like so many posters have said before-

Japan's testing is ABISMAL AT BEST. And on top of that, Japan does not conduct autopsies on the deceased to find out if they were Infected or not. Contract tracing is laughable here. So of course, the numbers here are low. Had Japan tested the same way Europe did the numbers and deaths would have been similar. otherwise there wouldn't be tens of thousands of covid patients waiting for hospital beds as was reported here and on many other sites as well

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Turns out there ARE other countries that can make the same claim."

Yes, you are correct. two

Norway 63 fewer deaths

Nz 1660 fewer deaths

That's all I wanted from you. To acknowledge that your original post, which started this exchange was wrong.

So I salute you due the fact that you can admit a mistake. It takes a man to do that and we shall dwell on it no longer. Now to the next part.

Good Government! Those are the facts!

Really? exactly what did the gov do that was so great? can you answer concretely?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Back on topic please and no more bickering.

We could look at Taiwan, S Korea, and New Zealand- ALL have fared better than Japan.

Aly, Korea had an extra 10,000 deaths compared to last year. Seems they didn't fair better.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Aly, that has nothing to do with total deaths for the year. My reply was related to the article not covid numbers. It's amazing Japan managed to reduce deaths this year with an even more aging population than the rest of the world. I was so suprised Korea incresed this year I was sure they'd have similar results as Japan or better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Really? exactly what did the gov do that was so great? can you answer concretely?

Exactly. That is the point. They didn’t do anything. And people and businesses certainly didn’t do much either. Packed trains and business (almost) as usual, but still total deaths are down. According to some people here, this would lead to an inevitable disaster, but did it really?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Aly, that has nothing to do with total deaths for the year. My reply was related to the article not covid numbers.

Fair enough. My bad.

It's amazing Japan managed to reduce deaths this year with an even more aging population than the rest of the world. I was so suprised Korea incresed this year I was sure they'd have similar results as Japan or better.

Its not really when you consider that ALOT of premature deaths every year in Japan can be avoided with some care. Like many pointed above, the SOE has less people driving because A they work from home and B there is not too much travelling done these days. Also the number of people who die from Karoshi is down. And very importantly, the number of flu deaths is down due to precautions taken.

Exactly. That is the point. They didn’t do anything. And people and businesses certainly didn’t do much either. Packed trains and business (almost) as usual, but still total deaths are down. According to some people here, this would lead to an inevitable disaster, but did it really?

It didn't lead to a disaster anywhere except a few countries, and that was mainly due to anti maskers. But don't celebrate yet. remember we still have tens of thousands of covid patients waiting for beds.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Births at a record low....guess we can expect another round of konkatsu matchmaking services organized by 70 year old local govt offcials on taxpayer dime to ya know " encourage " the singles to meet opposite sex...because if it doesnt work..lets do it again. Who needs financial support for families and childcare hey?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So why did fewer Japanese die during the pandemic? Good Government! Those are the facts!"

LOL...good one...if anything it would have to be "despite the J-govt. mumbling. Fact.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So what's the lesson to be learned here? Well, here are my 2 cents for what they are worth. 1. Working from home is good. less people commuting by public transport means less infections, covid or flu or common cold. It also means less congested roads and less people driving leads to less accidents. That goes the same for studying from home. Basically, by fundamentally changing the way we live our lives we can form a safer, more environmentally friendly, and more productive life. We shouldn't just think about when we can go back to the way things were. We have to fundamentally change some things, not all, about how we live. And there is nothing wrong with that.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Fear mongerers are going to have a tough time explaining how deaths are down during this “catastrophic” pandemic.

No, it's really easy. People staying home, going out and doing less, while being more careful about their health, equals less deaths. I'm not even a "fear mongerer", but I can clearly see why there could be less deaths this year.

I changed my behaviour slightly but still got on the trains,had meetings,ate out, coffee shops, traveled to hot springs and started a new business!

People could do this in Japan as the virus, for most of us was not dangerously infectious and was thus not even noticeable.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The pandemic has not been the mass killer that we have been told it would have been if we did not take the measures we took.

^fixed it.

-4( +0 / -4 )

Four people don't like the truth!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Well, you could have supported many young people or couples who wish for a child, but throwing the helping money away with olympic facilities, Jaxa rockets and all such has obviously an extreme higher priority, so we don’t need to discuss that further, I think, although there are many solutions and options for that, not the money alone of course.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In France, less under 65's died in 2020 than in 2019

Almost as if they also did extremely costly measures to control infective respiratory diseases that modified normal life profoundly.

Yeah, those extremely costly measures did reduce the deaths from other infections, but most of the evidence indicates that those restrictive measures have very little effect on Covid.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The perfect storm of policies directed to make difficult to have family, a pandemic badly controlled and a cultural preference for letting this problem go on. On the other hand Japan is not the only country to struggle with low births last year, maybe expecting the people in charge to actually act to solve it is too naive.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yeah, those extremely costly measures did reduce the deaths from other infections, but most of the evidence indicates that those restrictive measures have very little effect on Covid.

On the opposite, it has been well described that social distancing measures (including but not only consisting on lockdowns) have a protective effect for the population. Only badly made studies heavily criticized and plagued by conflicts of interest have tried to say otherwise, obviously unsuccessfully.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Why Bother? No secure $ future + NO change in pay + increasingly Higher taxes.

From the populace’s perspective: the consumption tax was raised from 5% to 8% in 2014; *and **again, from 8% to 10% in October 2019. After the Olympic debacle and the stupid*, short-term ‘campaigns’, the next increase is coming sooner, rather than later.

So, what real incentives are there anymore in Japan for young people have children, start a family, marry (if they want), or even, get a higher ‘education(?)’.

The government(?) is failing the younger generation and leaving them ‘a legacy of chaos’.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I wonder if condom sales out number mask sales?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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