An elderly man sits on the wharf in Tomonoura city, Hiroshima prefecture, Japan, 25 October 2017. EPA-EFE FILE/EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN

Japan’s records biggest population drop, across all prefectures for 1st time

Tokyo, Jul 26 (EFE).- Japan’s population experienced a record drop in 2022 and also fell in all prefectures for the first time since record keeping began in 1968.

A mother and her baby watch Moon Jellyfish swimming in the water at a Tokyo aquarium, Japan, 03 May 2012. EPA-EFE FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

The population decreased by 800,523 people in 2022 compared to the previous year, to sit at 122.42 million, according to data published Wednesday by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

This represents a 14th consecutive decline in a year in which there were 772,000 births – the lowest figure since 1979 – compared to 1.57 million deaths, showing the country’s significant aging of the population.

Those under the age of 14 accounted for 11.82 percent of the population, falling 0.18 percent on the previous year, while those over the age of 65 rose 0.15 percent to 29.15 percent.

By prefecture, Tokyo has the largest population in the country, with 12.26 million, followed by Kanagawa (8.97 million), and Osaka, which exceeds 8.51 million, while the prefectures of Tottori, Shimane and Kochi have the smallest population, each with more than 500,000 people.

Elderly people eat ice creams on a street in Tokyo, Japan, 17 September 2013. EPA-EFE FILE/KIYOSHI OTA

Last year, the prefecture of Okinawa registered a drop in its population for the first time since 1973, according to the ministry.

Faced with this situation, the government in April launched a new agency in charge of coordinating policies aimed at supporting the birth rate and raising children in order to stop demographic decline.

In parallel to this new entity, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also promised to double the budget aimed at supporting the birth rate and raising children, among other measures focused mainly on the economic sector and which, according to some experts, are insufficient to address the country’s serious and complex demographic problem. EFE