The number of Japanese citizens living in the country as of Jan. 1 fell by 433,239, or 0.35 percent, from a year before to 124,776,364, down for the 10th straight year, the government said Wednesday.

The decline was the largest ever both in terms of number and percentage, data released by the internal affairs ministry showed. The figures are based on data in the country’s resident registry system.

The population grew in only five prefectures.

Aichi Prefecture saw its population fall by 4,719, logging its first drop since the current statistics began in 1968.

The combined population in the three most populous areas of greater Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, fell by 13,547, marking the first fall since the start of comparable data in 1975. Population growth in the Tokyo area, which also includes Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, was offset by declines in the Nagoya and Osaka areas.

The Nagoya area is composed of Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures, while the Osaka area covers Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Nara prefectures.

Populations rose in Tokyo and the three prefectures in the metropolitan area. Okinawa prefecture was the only one to mark a natural population increase.

Akita Prefecture incurred the biggest population fall of 1.48 percent, followed by Aomori Prefecture with 1.28 percent and Iwate Prefecture with 1.17 percent.

The ministry also said that populations declined in 1,499 of the country’s 1,747 municipalities.

The number of Japanese citizens between the ages of 15 and 64 stood at 74,230,887, accounting for 59.49 percent of the total population. The share has consistently fallen from the 69.65 percent mark recorded in 1994, when the ministry started recording the data.

The number of foreign residents rose by 169,543, or 6.79 percent, to a record 2,667,199.

Foreign resident populations grew in all 47 prefectures. Shimane saw the largest increase of 15.42 percent, Kagoshima came second with 15.22 percent and Kumamoto third with 14.17 percent.

The number of foreign residents is expected to grow further following the introduction of new visa categories in April to accept more foreign workers to help resolve labor shortages in many industries.

The country’s total population, including foreign residents, declined by 263,696, or 0.21 percent, to 127,443,563. The proportion of foreign residents was highest at 4.01 percent in Tokyo, followed by Aichi at 3.35 percent and Gunma at 2.86 percent.

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