厚生労働省は、合計特殊出生率＝total fertility rate〔TFR〕が1.34で5年連続の低下だと発表しました。TFRとは1人の女性が生涯に産む子どもの数の平均です。
The average number of children a woman will bear in her ifetime declined 0.02 point from 2019 to 1.34, the lowest in the post-World War II era, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The number of babies born in Japan fell to a record low last year as more couples put off marriage and starting a family amid a global pandemic.
※put off 延期する →push back
Japan has been struggling with a looming demographic crisis for years, with its birth rate continually declining -- raising concerns of the aging population and shrinking workforce.
※struggle with 〔困難等に〕取り組む、奮闘する
The number of births has been on a downward trend since 1973, the peak for the second-generation baby boomers in Japan at about 2.09 million.
In 2007, the country hit a grim milestone when the annual number of deaths surpassed births, putting the population on a steady downward track.
中国：And in China, the world's most populous country, the number of newborns registered dropped almost 15% last year.
The government announced it would further ease its strict family planning policy by allowing couples to have up to three children to combat the slide.
韓国：In the 1970s, South Korea's birthrate was above 4.0 but dropped to 1.57 in 1990. The birthrate remained at around 1.2 from 2000 to 2015 and plunged to 0.88 in 2020.
Replacement level fertility＝人口置換水準 is the total fertility rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.
This rate is roughly 2.1 children per woman for most countries, although it may modestly vary with mortality rates. （死亡率）
Chief Cabinet Secretary（内閣官房長官） Katsunobu Kato expressed a sense of crisis over the all-time low number and stressed the importance of removing obstacles for bearing and raising children in society.
Infertility is not officially recognized as a disease in Japan and so treatment has not been covered by the national health insurance system.
From April 2022, the government plans to expand public health insurance coverage for infertility treatment and to increase subsidies in the meantime.
※infertility treatment 不妊治療 fertility treatmentという表現も
A woman in her 30s got pregnant after undergoing fertility treatments through ovulation-inducing drugs. （排卵誘発剤）
But the method resulted in a shocking revelation. “You are going to have quadruplets,” (四つ子）the doctor told the woman.
Selective reduction surgery is carried out to protect the mother and her offspring in the case of pregnancy with multiple fetuses.
It is not classified as abortion（中絶） under the Maternal Health Act.（母体保護法）