TOKYO, June 2 (Xinhua) -- A government survey showed on Friday that the Japanese population dropped at fastest pace in 2016, with less than 1 million babies born while over 1.3 million people died.
According to a report released by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, a total of 976,979 babies were born in 2016 in Japan, the lowest number and the first time less than 1 million since records began in 1899.
Meanwhile, 1,307,765 people died in 2016, resulting in a record drop of 330,786 in population, according to the report.
Japan has been suffering from a trend of population decrease for decades, with its birthrate in 2016 falling to 7.8 births per 1,000 persons, the lowest level since 1899.
Meanwhile, the country's fertility rate, which refers to the average number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime, dropped to 1.44 in 2016, down 0.01 point from a year earlier.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that he wants to halt the slide and maintain Japan's population at 100 million people by 2060, by raising the fertility rate from 1.4 births per woman to 1.8 by the end of fiscal 2025, among other measures.
Earlier government estimates, however, showed that population of Japan could fall to 88.1 million by 2065, almost a third less than the 127.1 million in 2015.