Japan’s population is rapidly ageing and has suffered a record decrease by around 284,000 to an estimated 127.5 million people by October 2012, according to the government’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry figures.
Around 30 million people, almost a quarter (24 percent) of Japan’s population, are aged 65 or over, according to the figures. In contrast, the number of children aged 14 or less decreased to a record low of 13 percent.
As a result, the elderly officially outnumbered children, with a higher number of over-65s compared to children aged 14 and under in each of Japan’s 47 prefectures for the first time, according to the international press.
The results confirmed Japan’s reputation for being the fastest ageing country in the developed world. There are multiple reasons for the population’s decrease, such as a dropping birthrate compared to the number of deaths, the postwar babyboom generation reaching retirement age and severe immigration laws.
Around 40 out of Japan’s 47 prefectures reported a population decrease, with the worst hit being nuclear-hit Fukushima where resident volumes declined by 1.41 percent.
The government is looking for solutions in order to face the consequences of its ageing society. Japan’s population is now facing a sharp rise in welfare costs and medical care demands forecast in coming years combined with a drop in workforce and national tax revenues.