Japan’s decreasing birthrate coupled with an aging population continue to spell out doom and gloom for the future of the country. 

It may sound like a broken record, but each new year seems to bring even more worrisome news regarding Japan’s overall shrinking and aging population. On April 15, the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced that the country’s population was estimated to be 125.52 million people, including foreign residents, on October 1, 2021. With that number down by 644,000 people from the previous year, it marks an overall decrease for 11 years running now with a 0.51 percent rate of decrease, the highest ever recorded since statistics began being kept in 1950.

Experts believe that the sharp decrease in total population was at least partially spurred by immigration restrictions due to COVID-19, throughout which foreign nationals can’t gain entry to the country. This theory is backed by data showing the number of departures of foreigners exceeded the number of arrivals with an overall decline of about 28,000 people. That marks the first negative figure in nine years despite major cities like Tokyo seeing an increase in the number of foreign residents prior to the pandemic.

In terms of births, the year saw 831,000 new babies, which is 40,000 fewer than the previous year. Meanwhile, there were 1.44 million deaths, which is 68,000 more than the previous year. It was the 15th consecutive year that the number of births was lower than the number of deaths.

Furthermore, Japan’s working eligible population (defined as people aged 15 through 64) was down by 584,000 from the previous year for a total of 74.504 million people. With that number comprising 59.4 percent of the total population, it is also the lowest proportion of working-age people on record, leading to concerns about the increasing potential for impending labor shortages.

▼ This man probably wants to start his retirement while he’s still got enough energy to enjoy it.

Speaking of the elderly, the population aged 65 and up was estimated to be at 36.214 million people, which constitutes 28.9 percent of the total population–another highest level ever. If that trend continues, we may be seeing even more Japanese gamer grandmas and armed robber grandpas in the years to come.

Source: Nihon Keizai Shinbun via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
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