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The number of babies born in Japan continued to fall in 2019, declining by around 53,000 from the previous year to a record low 865,234, government data showed Friday.

It is the first time that the annual number of newborns had dropped below 900,000. The total fertility rate — the average number of children a women will bear in her lifetime — fell to 1.36, down 0.06 point, according to the data released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths in the year stood at 1,381,098, the highest since the end of World War II. The number of deaths outnumbered births by 515,864 during the year as a result.

By prefecture, Okinawa recorded the highest total fertility rate of 1.82 and was the only prefecture to see more births than deaths.

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