Japan's population shrank by 556,000 in 2022 from a year earlier to 124.9 million, marking the 12th straight year of decrease, government data showed Wednesday, as the number of Japanese nationals saw its largest drop on record.

As of Oct. 1, the population, including foreign residents, stood at 124,947,000, with the number of Japanese nationals down 750,000 to 122,031,000 — the largest margin of decline since comparable data was made available in 1950, the data said.

The trend indicates an urgent need for Japan to establish a social system to cope with the dual challenge of a declining birthrate and a graying population.