The number of deaths across the nation fell in the first three months of 2020 despite the novel coronavirus, according to data issued by the health ministry, adding weight to the government’s position that it was able to control the first wave of infections in the pandemic.

The mortality data, released Tuesday, showed Japan recorded 368,793 deaths in the first three months of this year — a 0.7 percent fall from the average of the same period in the past five years.

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