CHINA VIEW - Jan 1 - The number of Japanese babies born in the country in 2009 have decreased from 22,000 of 2008 to 1,069,000. The government said the population decline may last for the future years, as the Japanese population is getting more reluctant to marriage and giving birth. The term "konkatsu" in Japanese, meaning "marriage-hunter," has been widely reported in global media and describes men and women who want to cut straight to the (matrimonial) chase. In the early 1970s the annual number of marriages in Japan, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, exceeded 1M and the birthrate at this time was at a level of 19 (per 1,000 population). The marriage rate currently stands at 5.8 (per 1,000 population), with one in four of these unions likely to end in divorce.
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