KABUL (BNA) Japan’s population has fallen for the 12th consecutive year, as deaths rise and the birth rate continues to sink, according to government data released Wednesday.
The population stood at 124.49 million in 2022 – representing a decline of 556,000 from the previous year, figures show.
That figure represents both the natural change in population – meaning deaths and births – and the flow of people entering and exiting the country.
The natural change last year was the biggest on record, with a fall of 731,000 – cushioned by the influx of people entering Japan, which provided an increase of 175,000, said Cabinet Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno in a news conference on Wednesday, according to CNN.
“It is essential to take firm measures to address the declining birthrate, which is a major factor in the decline in population, as one of the top priority issues to be addressed,” said Matsuno.
Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, as well as one of the highest life expectancies; in 2020, nearly one in 1,500 people in Japan were age 100 or older, according to government data.
That means a swelling elderly population, shrinking workforce, and not enough young people to fill in the gaps – posing a demographic crisis decades in the making.
In 2022, Japan was ranked one of the world’s most expensive places to raise a child, according to research from financial institution Jefferies. And yet, the country’s economy has stalled since the early 1990s, meaning frustratingly low wages and little upward mobility.