Japan’s Population Shrinks on Record Amid Pandemic

Japan’s population shrank to 126.65 million as of Jan. 1, the biggest drop since 2013, reflecting a drop in the number of foreigners living due to stricter border controls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

The population was 126,654,244, down 483,789 or 0.38% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since 2013, when data began to include resident foreigners, according to data released by the Interior Ministry.

The number of people leaving Japan exceeded the number entering the country, contributing to the first decline in seven years in the number of resident foreigners to 2,811,543, down 55,172 from 2020.

The number of Japanese declined by 428,617 to 123,842,701, marking the 12th consecutive year of decline as the number of deaths exceeds the number of births in an aging society.

The annual number of newborns in Japan fell to a record low of 843,321, and the number of deaths was 1,373,929, down slightly from the previous year.

People aged 65 and older accounted for 28.73 percent of the total population, up 0.32 percentage points from a year earlier. The percentage of people aged 15 to 64 considered to be of working age was 59.09%, a decrease of 0.20 points.

By region, the population declined in 42 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, while it increased in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, and in Okinawa.

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