Japan PM says country on the brink over falling birth rate

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64373950


Japan’s prime minister says his country is on the brink of not being able to function as a society because of its falling birth rate.

Fumio Kishida said it was a case of “now or never.”

Japan – population 125 million – is estimated to have had fewer than 800,000 births last year. In the 1970s, that figure was more than two million.

Birth rates are slowing in many countries, including Japan’s neighbours.

But the issue is particularly acute in Japan as life expectancy has risen in recent decades, meaning there are a growing number of older people, and a declining numbers of workers to support them.

Japan now has the world’s second-highest proportion of people aged 65 and over – about 28% – after the tiny state of Monaco, according to World Bank data.

Author(s): George Wright

Publication Date: 23 Jan 2023

Publication Site: BBC

China’s population falls for first time since 1961

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-64300190



China’s population has fallen for the first time in 60 years, with the national birth rate hitting a record low – 6.77 births per 1,000 people.

The population in 2022 – 1.4118 billion – fell by 850,000 from 2021.

China’s birth rate has been declining for years, prompting a slew of policies to try to slow the trend.

But seven years after scrapping the one-child policy, it has entered what one official described as an “era of negative population growth”.

The birth rate in 2022 was also down from 7.52 in 2021, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, which released the figures on Tuesday.

In comparison, in 2021, the United States recorded 11.06 births per 1,000 people, and the United Kingdom, 10.08 births. The birth rate for the same year in India, which is poised to overtake China as the world’s most populous country, was 16.42.

Deaths also outnumbered births for the first time last year in China. The country logged its highest death rate since 1976 – 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people, up from 7.18 the previous year.

Author(s): Kelly Ng

Publication Date: 17 Jan 2023

Publication Site: BBC

Tokyo’s ‘oldest man’ had been dead for 30 years



He was thought to be the oldest man in Tokyo – but when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed.

Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities.

They grew suspicious when they went to honour Mr Kato at his address in Adachi ward, but his granddaughter told them he “doesn’t want to see anybody”.

Police are now investigating the family on possible fraud charges.


But the family had received 9.5 million yen ($109,000: £70,000) in widower’s pension payments via Mr Kato’s bank account since his wife died six years ago, and some of the money had recently been withdrawn.

Publication Date: 29 July 2010

Publication Site: BBC

Covid-19: Life expectancy is down but what does this mean?




Despite the name, these life expectancy figures, known as “period life expectancy”, do not predict an actual lifespan.

Instead, they show the average age a newborn would live to if current death rates continued for their whole life.

And as Covid death rates are unlikely to continue long-term, the new estimates do not mean a boy born in 2020 will have a shorter life than one born in 2019.

But they do provide a snapshot of the effect of the pandemic that can be compared over time and between countries and different populations.

Author(s): Christine Jeavans

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: BBC

Pensions: What is the triple lock and how does it work?

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53082530?fbclid=IwAR2kjEGvPL1TdWhbi0CbXzr5_-RwdpLIgpnkwdAF9xgEJ92FhQUPB5KRUZo



At present, the state pension increases each year in line with the rising cost of living seen in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, increasing average wages, or 2.5%, whichever is highest.


As people come off furlough and return to full pay, this is recorded as a large rise in average earnings. Job losses have also affected those in low-paid work too.

This leads to a unique situation, and one which economists describe as an anomaly.

Predictions by the Bank of England suggest that average earnings could go up by 8%, hence the equivalent rise in the state pension.

Author(s): Kevin Peachey

Publication Date: 13 July 2021

Publication Site: BBC

Covid vaccine: How many people in the UK have been vaccinated so far?

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55274833



The UK has four vaccines approved for use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen; three of which require two doses for maximum protection.

The campaign to reach as many people as quickly as possible was boosted by a shift in policy in early January – to prioritise the first dose of a vaccine, with a second dose up to 12 weeks later, a bigger gap than originally planned.

Progress made in the UK so far means the country continues to be among those with the highest vaccination rates globally.

Author(s): The Visual and Data Journalism Team

Publication Date: 15 June 2021

Publication Site: BBC

Unlocking: India states start reopening amid dip in Covid cases

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-57380665


Major Indian states that have been virus hotpots are easing restrictions as Covid case numbers continue to fall.

National capital Delhi and financial hub, Mumbai, are among the cities that are opening partially.

This comes in the wake of a crushing second wave that saw hospital beds, medicines and even oxygen run short as cases spiked and deaths rose.

But experts continue to advice precaution amid a lagging vaccine drive and the threat posed by new variants.

Publication Date: 7 June 2021

Publication Site: BBC

Covid: Peru more than doubles death toll after review

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-57307861



Peru has more than doubled its Covid death toll following a review, making it the country with the world’s highest death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The official death toll is now more than 180,000, up from 69,342, in a country of about 33 million people.

Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez said the number was increased on the advice of Peruvian and international experts.

This was in line with so-called excess deaths figures.

Publication Date: 1 June 2021

Publication Site: BBC News

India’s Covid crisis hits Covax vaccine-sharing scheme

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-57135368



Unicef is calling on the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, as well as the EU, to donate their surplus supplies urgently.

Some countries have ordered enough to vaccinate their population many times over, including the UK, US and Canada.

In February British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to donate most of the UK’s surplus supply to poorer countries but he has so far given no specific timescale. It is a similar story for the US. So far France is the only G7 country to donate doses in view of the crisis in India.

Author(s): Tulip Mazumdar

Publication Date: 16 May 2021

Publication Site: BBC News

Coronavirus: Germany’s Merkel reverses plans for Easter lockdown

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56513366



German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled plans for a strict lockdown over Easter, just a day after the measures were announced.

Calling the plan a “mistake”, Mrs Merkel said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.

The proposed lockdown was agreed with regional leaders in talks overnight on Monday, with restrictions set to be tightened between 1-5 April.

But the plan was reversed following a crisis meeting on Wednesday.

Author(s): Jenny Hill

Publication Date: 25 March 2021

Publication Site: BBC News

Covid vaccines: Boris Johnson pledges surplus to poorer countries at G7

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-56117120


Boris Johnson is pledging to donate most of the UK’s surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries in a speech to a virtual G7 meeting on Friday.

He urged rich countries to back a 100-day target for the developing new vaccines for future emerging diseases.

The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, so many will be left over once all adults are vaccinated.

Publication Date: 20 February 2021

Publication Site: BBC News

Wall Street Charging Bull sculptor Arturo Di Modica ‘dies aged 80’

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56137600


The sculptor behind Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull statue has died aged 80, reports say.

Friends of Arturo Di Modica told Italian media that the sculptor died in his home town of Vittoria, Sicily. He had been fighting cancer for many years, La Repubblica reported.

The bull was originally installed in New York in 1989 without permission.

It was designed to represent the “strength and power of the American people” after the 1987 market crash.

Publication Date: 20 February 2021

Publication Site: BBC