TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 19:  People walk on the street in Akihabara, Electric Town on May 19, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Akihabara gained the nickname Akihabara Electric Town after World War II as it became a mecca for household electronic goods. Today Akihabara has become a major Tokyo tourist attraction and Otaku cultural center.  Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests and is often associated with the anime and manga movements.  The district is cluttered with stores specializing in anime, video games, manga, collectibles and maid cafes.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 19: People walk on the street in Akihabara, Electric Town on May 19, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Akihabara gained the nickname Akihabara Electric Town after World War II as it became a mecca for household electronic goods. Today Akihabara has become a major Tokyo tourist attraction and Otaku cultural center. Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests and is often associated with the anime and manga movements. The district is cluttered with stores specializing in anime, video games, manga, collectibles and maid cafes. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:21
Japan's 40-year-old virgins?
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
CNN
Brooke Baldwin last show goodbye CNN newsroom vpx_00000217.png
Now playing
03:56
'Get a little uncomfortable': See Brooke Baldwin's last words on air
CNN
Now playing
02:56
Watch Anderson Cooper belly laugh with Cheri Oteri
Now playing
01:24
How Kyra Sedgwick got the cops called on Tom Cruise
Now playing
05:18
Anderson Cooper explains how he overcomes being shy
US Navy
Now playing
01:28
Pentagon confirms UFO video is real, taken by Navy pilot
Now playing
02:35
WWII veteran: End of the war was 'the biggest thrill of my life'
Fancy Feast/Purina
Now playing
01:06
Cat food company makes a cookbook ... for humans
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Google
Google Earth's new timelapse feature
Now playing
01:09
Google Earth's new Timelapse feature shows 40 years of climate change in just seconds
Twitter | @brady9dream
Now playing
02:10
Pet owners pitch their pups to be dog brew's 'Chief Tasting Officer'
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:23
'The Masked Singer' reveals identity of The Orca
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin on December 07, 2017 in London, England. Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Lightcoin have seen unprecedented growth in 2017, despite remaining extremely volatile. While digital currencies across the board have divided opinion between financial institutions, and now have a market cap of around 175 Billion USD, the crypto sector coninues to grow, as it continues to see wider mainstreem adoption. The price of one Bitcoin passed 15,000 USD across many exchanges today taking it higher than previous all time highs. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:07
Bitcoin has an energy problem
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Mercedes-Benz AG
The new all-electric Mercedes-EQS
Now playing
01:05
See the new all-electric EQS luxury sedan from Mercedes
Now playing
01:32
Scientists turned spiderwebs into music and it sounds like a nightmare
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Now playing
01:02
Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers question stumps 'Jeopardy!' contestants
Now playing
05:18
Coinbase CFO: We're an on-ramp to the crypto economy
(CNN) —  

The number of children in Japan has fallen for the 37th straight year in a row, a sign the country’s attempts to offset the country’s severely aging population are failing.

As of April 1, 2018, there were 15.53 million children under the age of 14 in Japan, down 170,000 from the previous year, continuing a downward slide which started in 1981, according to data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The largest segment was also the oldest, with 3.26 million 12 to 14-year-olds, suggesting the downward trend isn’t going to end any time soon.

Despite attempts by the Shinzo Abe government to encourage Japanese to have more children, only Tokyo reported more children compared to the previous year.

Japan’s total population currently stands at 126 million. Children made up just 12.3% of that figure, compared to 18.9% for the US, 16.8% for China, and 30.8% for India.

According to the Japan Times, the government has been aiming to boost Japan’s total fertility rate – the average number of children each woman has in her lifetime – to 1.8 by the end of 2025 from 1.45 in 2015, through one time cash payments and other incentives.

Japan has been struggling with low birth rates for decades, but unlike many other industrialized countries which have also seen native populations having fewer children, it has not been able to make the numbers up with immigrants.

Economic issues

By 2060, the country’s population is expected to plummet to 86.74 million from its current total of 126.26 million, according to a projection by the Japanese Health Ministry.

With fewer workers paying taxes to support a growing silver population in need of pensions and healthcare services, Japan’s economy is facing an unprecedented challenge.

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2013, the last year for which data was available, foreigners made up only 1.3% of Japan’s population, compared to 7% for the US, or 16.1% for Estonia.

The lack of new workers is heightened by Japan’s woeful levels of gender disparity, a recent OECD report warned. While the ratio of boys to girls is relatively in keeping with most industrialized countries, there is currently a 25% gender pay gap in Japan, the third-widest of all member states, and women are often discouraged from participating in the workforce by a variety of factors including lack of childcare, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

“As Japan’s elderly population is projected to reach nearly three-quarters of the working-age population by 2050, using all available talent in the labor market is key to overcome labor shortages,” the report warned.

“This will require creating better work conditions for youth, incentivizing employment for the elderly, attracting foreign workers and closing gender gaps in job quality to promote the inclusion of women.”

Yoko Wakatsuki reported from Tokyo, Japan. James Griffiths reported from Hong Kong.