2 Jan 2010

Population of Japan falls

8:48 am on 2 January 2010

Japan has experienced the biggest recorded fall in its population since World War II.

Government estimates suggest the number of deaths in 2009 exceeded the number of births by 75,000.

Japan has one of the world's oldest populations, putting pressure on its welfare system.

The government has pledged new subsidies for parents to try to encourage young couples to have more children.