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A record 22,277 couples in Tokyo divorced in 1996, showing an increase of 729 couples from the year before, while the number of marriages continued to decrease, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said in a survey July 28.

There were 84,007 marriages recorded in Tokyo in 1996, a decrease of 279, or a 0.3 percent dip, from the previous year, the metro government said. It also said the ages of women who gave birth last year tended to be older, noting that the number of women between 35 and 39 years old who gave birth last year topped the 11,000 mark for the first time in eight years. Women who became mothers between the ages of 20 and 29 showed a record low 49,108, according to the survey.

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