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The number of traffic accident fatalities in Japan fell to 2,839 in 2020, marking the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1948, a police survey showed Monday.

The number of fatalities dropped by 376, or 11.7%, from the previous year, renewing the record low for the fourth straight year and falling below 3,000 for the first time, according to the National Police Agency survey.

“Various factors are believed to be behind the fall in the number of fatalities, such as improvements in vehicle safety performance and stronger crackdowns on traffic violations,” an NPA official said.

The agency will analyze the effects of the novel coronavirus epidemic on traffic accident fatalities, the official added.

Traffic accident deaths dropped in 36 of the country’s 47 prefectures.

Tokyo had the largest number of fatalities for the first time in 53 years, at 155, up by 22, followed by Aichi at 154, down by two, and Hokkaido at 144, down by eight.

The number of fatalities among people age 65 or over fell by 186 to 1,596, accounting for 56.2% of the total fatalities.

The number of traffic accidents declined by 72,237 to 309,000.

The traffic accident fatalities figure has been declining in recent years, after hitting a record high of 16,765 in 1970. The government failed to achieve its target of reducing the number to below 2,500 by 2020.

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