Japan’s estimated population decreased for the second year in a row, declining by a record 183,000, or 0.14 percent, from a year earlier to 127,510,000 as of Oct. 1, 2009, government data showed Friday.
It was the third year-on-year decline in Japan’s population since 1950 when comparable data became available, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a report. Japan’s population previously declined twice — in 2005 by 19,000, or 0.01 percent, and in 2008 by 79,000, or 0.06 percent.
The ministry said its estimate of Japan’s population in the latest report was based on the results of the 2005 national census and annual data on new births and deaths as well as people who entered and left the country.
The number of women stood at 65,380,000, a decrease of 61,000 or 0.09 percent, marking the first natural decline with 5,000 more deaths than births.
The male population stood at 62,130,000, down 121,000 or 0.20 percent, marking the fifth straight annual decline with 54,000 more deaths than births.
Japan’s population has entered a stage of full-scale decline as both men and women recorded natural decreases, ministry officials said.
The figures in the latest report included foreigners who remained in Japan for 91 days or more and foreign students. Of the total, the population of Japanese nationals came to 125,820,000, a decline of 127,000, or 0.10 percent.
The number of people who entered the country totaled 3,114,000, an increase of 250,000 from a year earlier, while those who left Japan stood at 3,237,000, up 329,000, meaning that social factors caused Japan’s population to decline by 124,000.
Of the 124,000, foreigners accounted for 47,000, marking the first decline in 15 years due to social factors.
The officials attributed the decline in the number of foreigners to the country’s economic slump triggered by the collapse of major U.S. brokerage Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.
Many foreign workers lost jobs and returned to their home countries amid the slow economy, the officials said.
The number of people aged 65 and older came to 29,005,000, an increase of 789,000, accounting for 22.7 percent of the total population.
In contrast, the population of people aged 14 or younger declined 165,000 to 17,011,000. The productive population of those aged between 15 and 64 totaled 81,493,000, down 806,000.
By prefecture, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Aichi, Shiga and Okinawa saw population increases as they did in 2008.
Okinawa saw the largest year-on-year increase with a 0.45 percent rise to 1,382,000.
Tokyo remained the most populous region with 12,868,000 people as of Oct. 1, accounting for 10.1 percent of Japan’s total population. Tokyo was followed by Kanagawa with 8,943,000 and Osaka with 8,801,000.