The number of births between April and June slumped 25 percent in Fukushima Prefecture and also declined significantly in Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, but the tally rose in northern and western Japan, a recent survey showed.
The Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which conducted the nationwide survey, believes many pregnant evacuees gave birth in areas they considered to be at less risk of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Based on valid responses from about 750 hospitals that handle deliveries, the association estimated there were 1,000 fewer births from the previous year in Fukushima Prefecture, and a combined total of 2,000 fewer newborns in Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures.
Other areas in Kanto also saw a decline in the number of births, with the exception of Saitama Prefecture, where many Fukushima evacuees took refuge.
In the Tohoku region, the average number of births per hospital in the three-month period dived 25 percent in Fukushima Prefecture, but in neighboring Iwate Prefecture the total remained almost unchanged and in Miyagi Prefecture it actually rose 6 percent.
Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures, as well as Gifu, Tottori, Kochi, Fukuoka and Nagasaki, recorded marked increases in births, including a rise of around 1,200 newborns in Fukuoka.