The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced the latest data on Japan’s population on March 16. The number of people aged 65 and over has exceeded 30,000,000 for the first time since record keeping began in 1950. Furthermore, those aged 65 and over exceeded the number of those aged 14 and below in every region across the country.
In 2012, the Japanese population was 125,957,000 and the foreign population was 1,558,000 (1.22%). The total population (foreigners and Japanese) shrunk by 284,000 over 12 months.
A total of 7 prefectures saw an increase in population, with Okinawa seeing the highest increase of 0.56%, and Tokyo seeing the second highest of 0.25%. The remaining 40 prefectures saw populations decline, with Fukushima seeing the largest decline of 1.41%.
The number of foreigners leaving the country reached a record high last year with 56,000 leaving the country. The previous record outflow was 51,000 in 2011. This is the fourth continuous year of decline in the foreign population. The most recent peak was an influx of 79,000 in 2007. In the last 22 years, the foreign population has only declined in 1994, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. There are now 186,000 less foreigners in Japan than in 2008, and the percentage of foreigners to the total population has dropped from 1.36% to 1.22% over the same period.
Meanwhile, the population in Tokyo’s Toshima-ku (the most densely populated area in Japan) exceeded 270,000 for the first time since 1989.
In Chuo-ku, the population exceeded 130,000 for the first time in 46 years. Chuo-ku’s population was over 170,000 in 1953 but many residents moved out as the area filled with office buildings. By 1997 the residential population had dropped to just 70,000. A crash in land prices and a change in zoning led to an increase in apartments, which is especially evident on the man-made islands in Tsukishima. This has ncouraged residents back to the area
The data was measured by the MIC in October 2012.
NHK, April 15, 2013.
Japan Jyuku Information Center, April 16, 2013.