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Japan’s population down for 8th straight year

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s estimated population including foreigners totaled 126,443,000 as of Oct. 1 last year, down 263,000, or 0.21 percent, from a year before, falling for the eighth straight year, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Friday. The decline was the largest ever, both in number and percentage.

The number of people aged 15 to 64, or the working age population, fell by 512,000 to 75,451,000, accounting for 59.7 percent of the overall population, the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1950, highlighting labor shortages in Japan.

The share of the working age population has been on the decline since hitting a peak of 69.8 percent in 1992. The percentage in 1950 was also 59.7 percent.

The population of Japanese people came to 124,218,000, down 430,000, or 0.35 percent. The number of foreigners increased by 167,000, or 8.1 percent, to 2,225,000, rising for the sixth straight year. The share of foreigners of the overall population has been on the rise.

People aged 65 or older were 28.1 percent of the overall population, hitting a record high. Those aged 70 or older stood at 20.7 percent, the first reading above 20 percent.

Of the 47 prefectures, seven saw their populations increase, with a rise of 0.72 percent in Tokyo, 0.31 percent in Okinawa and 0.28 percent in Saitama. The Tokyo metropolitan area, which also includes Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, enjoyed continued population growth.

The population decreased in 40 prefectures, falling 1.47 percent in Akita, 1.22 percent in Aomori and 1.12 percent in Iwate. The pace of decline was faster in 2018 than a year before in Wakayama and 30 other prefectures.

Okinawa was the only prefecture with a natural population increase, with the number of births exceeding that of deaths.

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