Japanese population falls despite fertility rate rise

Japan's fertility rate has risen for the third year in a row but remains the lowest in the developed world, it has been announced.

Reuters reports on the figures included in a new health ministry publication, which reveal that the fertility rate – the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime - rose to 1.37 in 2008.

Despite a rise of 0.03 per cent on 2007, the Japanese rate remains short of the estimated 2.07 needed to sustain population levels.

Consequently, the overall population of the country dropped by 51,300 to 127.6 million as more deaths than births were recorded.

According to Reuters, the birth rates in the US and UK are currently 2.12 and 1.84 respectively.

Last month, Sarah Montagu, administrative secretary for the UK Association of Radical Midwives, claimed that couples undergoing fertility treatment need full counselling about all of the risks involved.

Her comments came after the journal Human Reproduction reported that twins born via IVF treatment are more likely to require hospital treatment than those born naturally.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19201039-ADNFCR