Japan’s population drops first time in century

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Tokyo, Feb 26 (IANS) Japan’s population declined for the first time in almost a century in 2015, compounding the government’s concerns about the nation’s mounting demographic woes in the face of a rapidly aging and shrinking society.

According to preliminary statistics released Friday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Statistics Bureau, Japan’s population as of October 1, 2015 totaled 127,110,047, a decline of 947,305 people, or 0.7 percent, from the previous census conducted in 2010, reports Xinhua.

The latest census revealed that the population in Japan had dropped for the first time since the survey began in 1920. And while Japan remains the world’s 10th largest country, it is the only country among the top 20 whose population is declining.

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The statistics bureau said Japan’s male population stood at 61,829,237 and female population at 65,280,810, with the overall population dropping in 39 of Japan’s total 47 prefectures.

Thirty-three percent of the prefectures have seen an accelerated rate of decline, the bureau said.

The data showed a population increase in Tokyo and some neighbouring prefectures.

The government is grappling to address the demographic crisis with structural reform policies aimed at boosting the rapidly declining national fertility rate, which fell to a record low of 1.42 in 2014.

The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has said the declining birthrate will lead to Japan losing a third of its population by 2060.

Keio University’s demographics specialist, Noriko Tsuya, has said there was no other industrialized country in the world that was experiencing such a rapid decline of its population.

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