Japan’s population falls by record level


Japan’s population fell by a record 0.22 percent to 127.515 million as of last Oct. 1, while people aged 65 or older surpassed the 30 million mark for the first time, the government said Tuesday.

The figures are from a survey by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

The decline of 284,000 in the total population, which also included foreign nationals, was the largest of its kind since officials began compiling comparable data in 1950.

It was also the second year in a row that the population has fallen.

Ministry officials attributed the decline to the number of deaths exceeding births and a rise in the number of foreign residents who left Japan compared with those entering the nation because of the impact of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the economic slump.

People aged 65 or older accounted for a record 24.1 percent of the total population.

The number of people in this age bracket rose by 1.04 million to 30.79 million partly because many of those born in the baby-boom years of 1947 to 1949 have turned 65 years in a telling sign that measures such as increased social welfare spending must be addressed swiftly.

Meanwhile, the number of people 14 and younger fell to a record low of 13 percent.

The population decreased in 40 of the 47 prefectures. Fukushima Prefecture, home of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, suffered the worst decline at 1.41 percent.

Of the seven prefectures that posted gains, Okinawa topped the list with a 0.56 percent increase.

For the first time, the number of people aged 65 or older surpassed those aged below 14 in every prefecture.

Akita Prefecture had the highest percentage of people 65 and older at 30.7 percent, followed by Kochi at 30.1 percent and Shimane at 30.0 percent.

  • This needs to be addressed very quickly, sadly I dont see that happening.

  • トム ( Tom )

    Welcome to the world of “hinkon joshi” and underpaid salaryman… Who would want to have kids in this economy?

    My advice… Raise tax on all birth control items by 500% and we will make up the difference

    • Also, schedule summer blackouts on random days, and ensure that nobody tries to go to work. Nine months later, bam!

  • BaldheadedFoo

    young japanese men and women are increasingly at odds in a rapidly growing unisex society. Neither side is interested in the other anymore. The herbivore culture will spread to other western societies, evenutally causing the same problems. it will be hard to get women to return to the home, barefoot and pregnant again. their mothers and gandmothers were too miserable.

    • Jameika

      I hope that you’re kidding. I think you would be really hard-pressed to find any data that would back that up. In fact, in the developed world it is those countries that have the highest levels of gender equality (through law and social convictions) that are not having to deal with depopulation issues (France, Sweden) while it is countries with entrenched attitudes about gender roles have low birth rates (Italy, Japan).

  • Al

    This is global problem everythere.

    By the project of United Nations in 2020th most countries of the Europe and many others will suffer from depopulation. The region which will produce younger people in many quntities will be… no, not the China and even not the India – the Africa. Africa in 2020th will be the main source of immigrants for Europe, it will make so many people – bigger than current China and India combined…

    In fact China are lost in last 2012th it’s first place as most populated country – to the India – it is today the country with biggest population on planet. But by the UN calculations – this two regions will start slowing their population grow because of insufficient resources – mainly the deficit of drinking water – which will be global problem in the future too.

    If think the rich countries of “golden billion” will resolve that problem – depopulation is not so dangerous than absence of water, the easiest way is to collect sperm (China are even make street “collecting machines” for that which paying money for material) and egg cells, and use artificial reproduction supported by government. By the UN calculations 5 years ago – there was a million children in the world who was born using artificial reproduction.

  • The depopulation is greatest of course in rural areas…and I guess this is precisely the electorates where Conservatives opposed to foreign immigrants live….so perhaps the prospect of a railway branch line or a hospital closing will cause some of these people to rethink their disdain for foreign immigration.

  • Japan should loosen up their immigration laws and make the work environment easier so it is easier to let immigrants get a citizenship. I’m not saying Japan should do what America does and let ANYBODY in, but change is needed.

  • Pat

    In an age of shrinking resources, species extinction, overfishing, climate devastation, energy shortages this is wonderful news!

  • I seem to recall a Chernobyl type event that is still on going. Am I the only one who has noticed?
    And what effect did that have on the death rate and people moving away from Japan?

  • Jennifer L

    Think of how vastly different New Zealand and Japan are because of population, in around the same land mass NZ has 4 million people. It is not a curse to have fewer people it is a blessing, except when caused by disasters such as Japan has had. Japan needs to look to its older people and go back to revering and listening to them, instead of working themselves to death.