A Japanese factory that makes baby diapers has announced it will stop production and instead focus on the adult market.

Oji Holdings is the latest company to make such a shift in a rapidly aging Japan, where birth rates are hitting record lows.

This is also reflected in the fact that sales of diapers for adults have surpassed those for babies.

The number of babies born in Japan in 2023 – 758,631 – decreased by 5.1% compared to 2022.

It was also the lowest number of births recorded in Japan since the 19th century. In the 1970s, that number rose to more than two million.

In a statement, Oji Holdings said its subsidiary, Oji Nepia, currently manufactures 400 million baby diapers annually. Production has been falling steadily since 2001, when the company reached its peak of 700 million diapers.

In 2011, Japan’s largest diaper maker, Unicharm, said its sales of adult diapers had surpassed those of infants.

Meanwhile, the adult diaper market is growing and is estimated to be worth more than $2 billion. Japan now has one of the oldest populations in the world, with nearly 30% of them over the age of 65. Last year, the proportion of people over 80 exceeded 10% for the first time.

Oji Holdings also said it will continue to make baby diapers in Malaysia and Indonesia, where it expects demand to increase.