Japan’s population grew 0.11 percent in the year to Oct. 1, the lowest growth rate recorded in the postwar period, the Public Management, Home Affairs and Posts and Telecommunications Ministry said Friday.
As of that date, the population stood at 127.435 million, having grown by about 145,000 — also the lowest figure recorded since the end of World War II.
The data underscore the continued decline in the birthrate.
There were about 1.18 million births during the year, down 9,000 from the previous year.
When the number of deaths is subtracted, the natural increase in the population stood at 195,000. This figure is 24,000 fewer than that for the previous year and also constitutes a postwar low.
Moreover, 51,000 more people left the country than entered it.
Just 12 of the nation’s 47 prefectures recorded a population increase during the year. Okinawa Prefecture logged the highest rate of increase, 0.76 percent, followed by Tokyo, 0.66 percent, and Kanagawa Prefecture, 0.65 percent.
Akita Prefecture saw the sharpest population decline, 0.64 percent. Next was Shimane Prefecture, 0.53 percent, and Wakayama Prefecture, 0.49 percent.
Those aged 65 or older made up 18.5 percent of the population — the highest figure on record.
In contrast, those in the so-called productive age grouping — 15 to 64 — fell in every prefecture, logging a 0.4 percentage point decline to 67.3 percent.
Meanwhile, those under 15 fell 0.2 percentage point to 14.2 percent.
As part of a drive to tackle the declining birthrate, the Cabinet agreed Friday to submit two bills to the Diet aimed at making workplace and welfare policies more conducive to child-rearing.
One of the bills would result in a law that would be effective through fiscal 2015. It would try to tackle the falling birthrate through joint efforts between the public and private sectors.
The law would make it compulsory for businesses and local authorities with more than 300 employees to establish action plans to make their working environments more compatible with child-rearing duties.
This would hopefully bring about an increase in the rate of employees taking maternity or paternity leave.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.