Population probably shrank even more in 2009, ministry estimates

Japan’s population probably shrank further in 2009 as births fell by roughly 22,000 to about 1,069,000, the health ministry said in estimates released Thursday.

“The trend of increasing population decline is expected to continue in the future as the number of deaths rises due to the aging of the population, while the number of women at childbearing age is decreasing,” a ministry official said.

Although the national fertility rate — the number of children a woman would have if she followed the birthrate of each generation in a given year — rose for three consecutive years until 2008, past data suggest the rate in 2009 was around 1.37 — the same as 2008.