Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Japan's fertility rate inches up 日本生育率微幅上升

AFP WITH STAFF WRITER

A nurse rocks a three-day-old baby to sleep at a maternity unit in a Tokyo hospital on Oct. 25, 2006.去年十月二十五日,東京某醫院一名護士在育嬰室內搖哄一名才出生三天的新生兒。

Photo: EPA

Japan's fertility rate recovered slightly last year from a record low, the first rise in six years, the government said.

The fertility rate — the number of children born per 1,000 people per year — rose to 1.32 in 2006, up 0.06 percentage points from the record low of 1.26 last year.

The health ministry had already forecast that the fertility rate would rise in 2006 thanks to a better economy. However, the country still is not having enough children to prevent a population drop.

Japan has one of the world's oldest populations as young people decide that families place too heavy a burden on their lifestyles and careers.

The trend spells a future crisis as fewer workers are asked to support a mass of retired people.

Japan's government has forecast its population will be cut in half to 60 million by 2100 unless people have more children.

日本政府表示,創下新低紀錄的生育率去年終於微幅上升,這可是六年來頭一遭。

日本二00六年的生育率(每年每千人之出生人口數)提高至一點三二人,比前一年寫下歷史新低的一點二六人上升0點0六個百分點。

拜經濟好轉之賜,厚生勞動省先前就預測二00六年的生育率將上升。然而,幼童人口仍不足以阻止日本人口減少。

日本是全球老年人口最多的國家之一,原因在於年輕一輩認為家庭會成為個人生活及事業的重擔。

這股趨勢意味著日本未來將面臨少數工作者被迫負擔眾多退休者生活的危機。

日本政府預測,除非民眾多多生育,否則到了二一00年,日本全國人口將減半為六千萬人。

(法新社/翻譯:林倩如)

TODAY'S WORDS 今日單字

1. fertility n.

繁殖力 (fan2 zhi2 li4)

例: The fertility rate in Taiwan is 1.26, which means most women have one or two kids.

(台灣的生育率是一點二六人,表示多數婦女生育一或兩名子女。)

2. ministry n.

部 (bu4)

例: The Ministry of Education chooses textbooks.

(教育部選定教科書。)

3. economy n.

經濟 (jing1 ji4)

例: The economy is doing well this year —unemployment is low.

(今年經濟表現良好,失業率低。)

4. crisis n.

危機 (wei2 ji1)

例: We could face a water crisis if it doesn't rain.

(若不降雨,我們可能會面臨缺水危機。)


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