Japan Population Shrinks at Record Pace

news 26-Jul-2023 Asia

Japan's Population Shrinks at Record Pace

Many industrialized countries are experiencing low birth rates, but the problem is particularly acute in Japan. The country's population has now declined for the 14th consecutive year.

The Japanese population continues to shrink at a record pace. The number of Japanese people decreased by 801,000 to just 122.4 million last year compared to the previous year. This represents a decline of 0.65 percent. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tokyo, this is the largest decline since comparable data has been collected.

Population decline for 14 years

For the first time, all 47 prefectures in the country saw a decrease in the number of Japanese citizens. Including foreign residents, Japan's population stood at 125.4 million people. This is approximately 511,000 less than the previous year.

As a result, the population of the world's third-largest economy, after China and India, has been declining for 14 years. Due to low birth rates and limited immigration, Japan is aging faster than any other industrialized nation. It has the second oldest population in the world, after Monaco.

Abandoned regions and empty houses

Entire regions are dying out, millions of houses are left empty and deteriorating, and schools are being closed. Although Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called for "unprecedented" measures to increase the birth rate in order to halt the population decline by 2030, doubts remain about the effectiveness of these initiatives, most of which involve expanding existing measures. In January, Kishida warned that his country was on the verge of questioning "whether we can continue to function as a society."

The decline was the largest since data collection began in 1968. Japan recorded less than 800,000 births last year. The country has relatively strict immigration rules, but the government is gradually loosening them to cope with the labor shortage.

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