TOKYO, April 19, 2013 ( – Japan is seeing the most rapid decline in population of any country on earth, according to the World Population Data Sheet produced by the U.S. Population Reference Bureau.

A newly released report on demographic trends by the Japanese government reveals that Japan's population continues to plummet, and that 2012 saw the biggest population drop since record-keeping began in the 1950s.

On October 1, 2012, the country’s population was estimated at 127,515,000, down 0.22 percent from the previous year, said the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in a April 16 report.


Japan’s birth rate, which is well below replacement level, combined with an ever-increasing number of deaths, has resulted in the country’s population falling by a record 284,000 in 2012.

According to the report, the number of births in 2012 fell to a record low of 1,033,000, down by 18,000 from 2011.

The report pointed out that 40 of Japan's 47 prefectures saw a significant population decline, and Fukushima – the area of the nuclear disaster due to the 2011 tsunami – ranked highest with a plunge of 1.41 percent.

The government report also showed that Japanese society continues to age, with people aged 65 or over estimated at 30,793,000, up 1,041,000 from the previous year.

They now account for a record high 24.1 percent of the total population.

The report also stated that, for the first time, the elderly outnumber children aged 14 and under.

The island has a projected population of 120 million in 2025, but only 95 million by 2050.

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The Japanese government's estimates predict that by 2060, Japan will have 87 million people, while the number of people 65 or older will nearly double, to 40 percent.

According to Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, in 1995 the working age population hit its high point at 87 million. In 2004 this had dropped to 85.08 million, and by the end of 2010 stood at 81.07 million.

The agency estimates that by 2060 the national work force of people between ages 15 and 65 is expected to shrink to about half of the total population.

“The bare facts are shocking enough,” remarked Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute.

“Japan’s fertility rate, at 1.1 children per woman, has never been lower, and it is still falling from year to year,” he said. “Japan already has the oldest population in the world and, with virtually no immigration, there appears to be no way out of the looming democide. The elderly will die, and there will be fewer people and far fewer workers in the Home Islands in the years to come.”

He concluded, “The solution is obvious, but the Japanese people have to want more children for there to be more children.”


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