The number of children born in Japan fell to a record low for the sixth consecutive year in 2021, with deaths at the highest since World War II, highlighting the continuing trend of the country's population decline, government data showed Friday.

The number of newborns dropped 3.4 percent from 2020 to 842,897 while deaths increased 4.9 percent to 1,452,289, resulting in a natural population decrease of 609,392 in the country of 125 million, according to preliminary data by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The data includes figures for Japanese nationals living abroad and foreigners residing in Japan.

Despite government efforts, the nation's rapidly declining population trend shows no signs of abating. The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research estimates that the population of the world's third-largest economy will fall below 100 million in 2053 and stand at 88.08 million in 2065.

The government plans to establish a "children and families agency" to address falling childbirth and other issues involving children. It is also taking measures to reduce the number of children on day care waiting lists to encourage working parents to have babies.

A total of 514,242 marriages were registered in 2021, marking a fall of 4.3 percent and a record postwar low. Divorces totaled 187,854, down 4.5 percent from 2020, the data showed.