Population’s peak expected in 2007

Japanese society is aging faster than projected five years ago and will reach a significant turning point this year with people age 65 and older outnumbering those under 14, the Health and Welfare Ministry said Jan. 21.The nation’s population will peak at 127.78 million in 2007 and by 2050, there will be about 25 million fewer people than the 1995 figure of 125.57 million, according to estimates by a ministry-affiliated agency. According to the projection, made by the National Institute of Social Security and Population Problems, the population of those aged 65 or over will top that of those age 14 or under before the end of this year.Japan will become a supra-annuated society in 2050, with people age 65 or over accounting for 32.3 percent of the population, or one in every three people. In the previous projection, reported in 1992, the population was expected to peak in 2011. The 2050 population was then projected to be 115.11 million, with the percentage of people age 65 or over accounting for 28.2 percent at that time.People over 75 accounted for 40.1 percent of the population in 1990, but the figure will rise to 56.2 percent in 2005, according to the last projection. The ministry said Japan will be forced to step up effective measures to cope with the low birth rate and the government will be forced to review fiscal projections aimed at proposed pension reforms.