Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 14 News List

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


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.









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.


2. ministry n.

部 (bu4)

例: The Ministry of Education chooses textbooks.


3. economy n.

經濟 (jing1 ji4)

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


4. crisis n.

危機 (wei2 ji1)

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


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