The number of traffic deaths in Japan in 2021 fell by 203 from the previous year to 2,636, the lowest figure on record since 1948, a National Police Agency survey showed Tuesday.

The annual tally rewrote the record low for the fifth consecutive year, although the figure is preliminary and could be revised.

In 2021, the government declared a state of emergency twice due to the spread of the coronavirus.

“There was an impact on people’s daily lives, with the state of emergency restricting their movements and other aspects of life, but we’re not sure how this may have correlated with the number of traffic deaths. We’ll analyze,” an NPA official said.

The number of traffic accident fatalities rose in 16 of the country’s 47 prefectures.

By prefecture, Kanagawa ranked top for the first time, seeing 142 deaths, up by two. Osaka followed with 140 deaths, up by 16. The number in Tokyo, which had topped last year’s list, fell by 22 to 133.

Shimane had the lowest death count at 10.

The death figure per 100,000 population was highest in Tokushima at 4.45. The prefecture logged 32 deaths.

The number of fatalities among people age 65 or over fell by 76 to 1,520, but the age group made up a record 57.7% of total fatalities.

The number of traffic accidents dropped by 3,753 to 305,425. The number of injured people declined by 7,708 to 361,768.

The number of traffic deaths is on a declining trend after peaking at 16,765 in 1970. The government aims to reduce the figure to below 2,000 by 2025.

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