In 2016, 976,979 babies were born in Japan, going below 1 million in a year for the first time since 1899, when Japan began keeping records. This is just a third of the number of babies born in Japan in the peak year of 1949, according to data released last week by the health ministry. The overall poplulation shrank by 330,786 last year.
The shrinking population is causing Japan to wrestle with a labor shortage. In addition, there is an ever increasing number of elderly people needing more medical and social services, with fewer working age people to provide these services. By 2065, the population of Japan is expected to decrease from the current 127 million to 88 million, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates.