When both Japan and the United States reported the lowest birth numbers since they began keeping records, the news made headlines. But the implications for schools in their respective countries have been given short shrift. With preschool just a few years away, that’s an unfortunate oversight.

According to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the number of infants born in 2016 fell below 1 million for the first time since 1899. That represented a drop of about 25,000 from the previous year. The all-time high was 2.7 million registered in 1949.

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