• Kyodo News

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The number of people who died in Japan in 2008 is estimated to have increased to 1.143 million, the highest number since comparable data became available in 1947, according to health ministry estimates released Wednesday.

The number of babies born in the country in 2008 came to an estimated 1.092 million, nearly the same as the year before, bringing the natural population decrease to an estimated 51,000, up from the previous year’s 18,516, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said in the survey.

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