What does "fewer and further between" mean?

Dear teachers,

Could you please explain what “Japanese children are fewer and further between” means? I could not find the meaning of “fewer and further between” in dictionaries.

The sentence is from the BBC web site: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6306685.stm

Thank you in advance


The best known expression is the positive ‘few and far between’ meaning rare/infrequent/not often seen or heard of as in:

Examples of this kind of art are difficult to find in Africa and are few and far between these days.If you wanted to use this expression in a comparative form, you would then write:

Examples of this kind of art are more difficult to find in Europe and are fewer and further between than in Africa these days.


Very nice expression. It is these kinds of expressions that make me love English so much!

Thank you Alan for the clear explanation!