The population will plunge by half or more within the next 3½ decades in about 60 percent of the areas currently inhabited, the land ministry said Friday.
Japan’s overall population will shrink to 97 million by 2050, it said. By that time, it will have only 43 cities that have at least 300,000 residents, down from the present 61, the ministry said. The figure excludes Tokyo and the two other large metropolitan areas.
In a draft blueprint for land development, the ministry said Japan should put the concept of compact cities at the center of its urban planning strategy to deal with such a sudden population change.
The ministry proposed creating regional centers in which major medical, commercial and administrative facilities will be concentrated in a small area where residents can travel easily on foot or by bus.
It hopes to finalize the blueprint, known as a grand design, by the end of July after hearing opinions from nongovernmental experts.