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Japan’s decreasing population

by Osamu and Nobuko Mizutani

Sample newspaper article

JAPAN’S DECREASING POPULATION

総務省は28日、今年3月末時点の住民基本台帳に基づく日本人の総人口が1億2639万3679人だった、と発表した。前年から26万6004人減って4年連続の減少となり、減少幅は1968年の調査開始以降で最も大きくなった。生産年齢人口は減少傾向に歯止めがかからず、人口に占める割合も過去最少の62.47 %。03年は生産年齢人口3.56人で1人の高齢者を支える社会構造だったが、10年間で2.56人で1人を支える構造へ変わった。社会保障費負担や労働力確保をめぐる議論などに影響しそうだ。 (Aug. 29)

Words and phrases

総務省 (Sōmushō) Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; 今年 (kotoshi) this year; 末 (-matsu) end; 時点 (jiten) as of; 住民基本台帳 (jūmin-kihon-daichō) basic register of residents; 基づく (moto-) based on; 総人口 (sōjinkō) total population; 1億(-oku) 1 hundred million; 発表した (happyō-) made public; 前年 (zennen) previous year; 減って (he-) decrease; 連続 (renzoku) succession; 減少 (genshō) decrease; 幅 (haba) difference; 調査 (chōsa) survey; 開始 (kaishi) start; 以降 (ikō) since; 最も (motto-) most; 生産 (seisan) production; 年齢 (nenrei) age; 傾向 (keikō) tendency; 歯止めがかからず (hado-) unrestrained; 占める (shi-) occupy; 割合 (wariai) rate; 過去最少 (kako-saishō) smallest ever; 高齢者 (kōreisha) elderly person; 支える (sasa-) support; 社会構造 (shakai-kōzō) social structure; 10年間 (-nenkan) 10 years; 社会保障費 (-hoshōhi) social security expenses; 負担 (futan) pay; 労働力 (rōdōryoku) manpower; 確保 (kakuho) secure; めぐる concern; 議論 (giron) discussion; 影響 (eikyō) influence

Sample radio or television report

Sōmushō-wa 28-nichi, kotoshi 3-gatsumatsu-jiten-no jūmin-kihondaichō-ni moto-zuku Nihonjin-no sōjinkō-ga 1-oku-2639-man-3679-nin-datta-to happyō-shimashi-ta. Zennen-kara 26-man-6004-nin hette, 4-nen-renzoku-no genshō-to nari, genshō-haba-wa 1968-nen-no chōsa-kaishi-ikō-de mottomo ōkiku narimashita. Seisan-nenrei-jinkō-wa genshō-keikō-ni hadome-ga kakarazu, jinkō-ni shimeru wariai-mo kako-saishō-no 62-ten-47-pāsento-desu. 2003-nen-wa seisan-nenrei-jinkō 3-ten-56-nin-de hitori-no kōreisha-wo sasaeru shakai-kōzō-deshita-ga, 10-nenkan-de 2-ten-56-nin-de hitori-wo sasaeru kōzō-ni kawarimashita. Shakai-hoshōhi-no futan-ya rōdōryoku-no kakuho-wo meguru giron-nado-ni eikyō-suru-to miraremasu.

Translation

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications made public on the 28th that the population of Japan based on the basic register of residents as of the end of March this year was 126,393,679. This is a decrease of 266,004 from the previous year; the decrease has continued for four years. The most recent decrease is the greatest ever since 1968 when the survey started. The working-age population has continued to decrease without restraint, reaching the lowest level ever at just 62.47 percent of the whole population. In 2003, Japanese society had 3.56 working people to support 1 elderly person, but in the 10 years since then society has changed so that 2.56 workers have to support one senior citizen. Who’s going to pay for social security and how to secure manpower have become subjects of serious discussion.

A conversation between acquaintances

A: Nihon-no jinkō-ga dondon hette-ru-sō-desu-ne. (I hear Japan’s population is rapidly decreasing.)

B: Seisan-nenrei-no hito-no wariai-ga heru-noga daimondai-desu-ne. (The reduced share of working people is a serious problem.)

Conversation between a husband and wife

W: Kodomo-ga hette toshiyori-bakari-nante, yūutsu-ne. (Fewer children and more elderly people — it makes me sad.)

H: Demo heiwa-nanda-kara arigatai-yo. (But we should be grateful that we can live during a time of peace.) (No. 1180)