Photo/Illutration A sleeping baby (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Around 773,000 babies will be born in 2022 in Japan, a decline more than a decade faster than forecast due to the plummeting birthrate, according to a calculation by The Asahi Shimbun.

This year will mark the first time that the number of newborns is between 700,000 and 799,999 since 1899, when such statistics began being recorded.

“The birthrate falling like this won’t stop unless measures are taken regarding the deteriorating economic or employment environment that young people are facing,” said Takumi Fujinami, a senior researcher at the Japan Research Institute.

It also means the number of newborns will be in the 770,000-to-779,999 range 11 years earlier than the government’s estimate.

The new figure demonstrates how Japan’s trend of a chronically low birthrate is growing worse.

The Asahi Shimbun made the calculation using the same method as used by the government in its projection. 

In order to produce the prospective figure for 2022, the newspaper used data that includes the preliminary number of births between January and October and the calculation method that the health ministry uses to estimate the annual number of births.

As a result, the paper found the number of newborns in 2022 is expected to be 772,525, 4.8 percent down from the previous year.

The estimate for the future population that the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, an affiliated organization of the health ministry, published in 2017 predicted the number of newborns would fall below 800,000 in 2030 to 798,000.

The figure would then be in the 770,000-to-779,999 range in 2033 to total 776,000, the institute said.

The number of newborns in Japan reached 2.09 million in 1973, the year during the second baby boom, but it has been falling ever since.

The government published its “framework of measures for a society with a declining birthrate” in May 2020. In the framework, the government set a target of achieving the “desired birthrate” of 1.8.

The desired birthrate is the government’s term to describe a birthrate that is expected to be achieved if young people who intend to marry and have children can do so.

However, the total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in her lifetime, only reached 1.30 in 2021.