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Number of new adults up slightly to 1.25 mil. on New Year's Day

This photo taken at Yokohama Arena on Jan. 8, 2018 shows 37,000 people attending a coming-of-age ceremony. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The number of Japanese people aged 20, the legal age of adulthood, on New Year's Day 2019, will be 1.25 million, up 20,000 from a year earlier, a government estimate showed Monday.

But new adults will make up only 0.99 percent of the total population of 126.32 million, remaining below 1 percent for the ninth straight year. The figure was nearly half the 2.46 million in 1970, the highest since comparable data became available in 1968, the estimate showed.

Within Japan's shrinking population, the number of new adults has been declining since the mid-1990s after the "second baby boomers," who were born between 1971 and 1974, reached adulthood.

Of the 1.25 million, 640,000 are men and 610,000 are women, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

With 2019 being the Year of the Boar under the 12-sign Chinese zodiac, the number of people born in previous such years in Japan totals 10.55 million.

Notable figures born in the Year of the Boar include award-winning film director Takeshi Kitano, pop star Hikaru Utada, and Yoshihide Kiryu, a member of Japan's silver medal-winning men's 4x100 relay team at the Rio Olympics.

The age of legal adulthood in Japan will be lowered from 20 to 18 in April 2022 following a Civil Code revision. The country's minimum voting age was also reduced to 18 after a revised election law came into effect in June 2016.

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