Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s population as of Jan. 1 fell by 374,055, or 0.3 percent, from a year before to 125,209,603, marking the ninth straight year of decline and the largest annual fall, data released by the internal affairs ministry revealed Wednesday.
The figures were based on family registers.
The number of annual births in the country stood at a record low of 948,396 last year, failing to reach 1 million for the second year in a row.
The natural population decrease, or the number of deaths minus that of births, hit a record high of 392,378, with total deaths outnumbering births for the 11th consecutive year.
The combined population in the country’s three largest metropolitan areas — Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka — posted a record high of 64,534,346 as of Jan. 1.
The number accounted for 51.54 percent of the total population, exceeding 50 percent for the 12th consecutive year. The populations of the Nagoya and Osaka areas, however, fell, indicating a concentration of people in the Tokyo area.
Of 47 prefectures, only six — Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi and Okinawa — saw their populations rise. The Tokyo area includes Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, while Nagoya is part of Aichi.
Tokyo had the highest growth rate, at 0.55 percent, followed by Okinawa, with 0.2 percent, and Saitama, with 0.06 percent.
The sharpest rate of decline was 1.39 percent in Akita, followed by 1.19 percent in Aomori and 1.07 percent in Yamagata, all three in the Tohoku region.
Populations declined in 1,469 of Japan’s 1,747 municipalities.
By age group, those aged between 15 and 64, or the working-age population, accounted for 59.77 percent of the total, dipping below 60 percent for the first time. This demographic has declined in size annually since 1994.
The number of foreign residents in Japan as of Jan. 1 stood at 2,497,656, marking the largest-ever increase of 174,228, or 7.5 percent, from a year before.