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The first half of the year saw 560,958 newborns registered with Japanese authorities, including those born overseas, a decrease of 4,900 from last year, according to preliminary health ministry data obtained Wednesday.

The births include those born to foreign residents in Japan, Japanese living abroad and babies born last year but registered during the January-June period of this year.

The figure reflects the continuing decline of the birthrate and the aging population.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported that the number of registered newborns increased by 1,400 to 1,999 in February and March from the year before, but the numbers began to drop in April.

In May, the figure fell by 3,500 to 94,413, while in June it fell by 2,000 to 91,827, the ministry said.

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