Population in Tokyo area increases further


The population in Tokyo and surrounding areas increased further in 2015, government data show.

The number of people who moved into the capital and three neighboring prefectures — Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa — last year exceeded that of people who left by 119,357, according to the data, released by the internal affairs ministry on Friday.

The greater Tokyo area thus saw a net population inflow for the 20th straight year. The 2015 figure was 9,949 higher than in 2014.

The population concentration in the Tokyo area has been strengthening on the back of the economic recovery, ministry officials said.

Net growth in Tokyo’s 23 wards stood at 68,917, accounting for about 60 percent of the total for the metropolitan area.

Of the two other major metropolitan areas in Japan, the area consisting of four western prefectures — Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Nara — suffered a net population decrease of 9,354, and the central prefectures of Gifu, Aichi and Mie had a net decrease of 1,090, according to the data, based on the country’s resident registration system. The western and central areas both suffered net decreases for the third straight year.

In a comprehensive program for regional revitalization compiled in December 2014, the government aims to balance the population inflow and outflow of the greater Tokyo area by 2020.

Of the total net inflow in 2015, 113,069 people — more than 90 percent — were ages 15 to 29. Many are believed to have moved into the area to begin studying at universities or other schools, or for work.

Eight of the nation’s 47 prefectures — Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Aichi, Fukuoka, Osaka and Okinawa — saw net population inflows. In the 39 other prefectures, population outflows surpassed inflows. Hokkaido logged the biggest net decrease, at 8,862.

In the northeastern prefectures hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Miyagi incurred a net decrease, of 76, for the first time in four years. Iwate and Fukushima saw net drops of 4,122 and 2,395.