• Kyodo


Japan’s population excluding foreign residents totaled 126,163,576 as of Jan. 1, down 271,058 from a year earlier, the biggest decline since the current population survey started in 1968, the government said Wednesday.

That was the sixth straight annual decline, with the data showing the drop is accelerating as the number of women of childbearing age shrinks. Daughters of baby boomers have turned 40 or older.

The number of births during the year to Jan. 1 declined to 1,003,554, the lowest since 1979, while the number of deaths rose to a yearly record high of 1,270,311, according to resident registry data compiled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The number of deaths exceeded births by 266,757, with the gap widening for the eighth straight year.

Of the 47 Japanese prefectures, those that lost population increased by two to 41, with Hokkaido posting the largest drop of 32,323.

Tokyo logged the biggest increase of 72,516 or 0.57 percent as the population continued to concentrate in the Japanese capital and its surrounding areas.

And for the ninth straight year, more than half of the nation’s people lived in Japan’s three major metropolitan regions of Tokyo-Yokohama, Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe, and Nagoya. But Tokyo was the only region to experience a population increase last year.

The number of registered foreign residents of Japan increased by 59,528 or 2.97 percent to 2,062,907, with a notable increase in the Tokyo region. The total population of Japanese and non-Japanese residents came to 128,226,483, down 211,530 or 0.16 percent.

About 2.4 million people aged 18 and 19 will join the electorate when the revised public offices election law, lowering the voting age to 18 from 20, takes effect next June. The change will apply to the next House of Councilors election.