Every one of Japan’s 47 prefectures posted a population drop in 2022, while the total number of Japanese people fell by nearly 800,000. The figures released by the Japan’s internal affairs ministry mark two new unwelcome records for a nation sailing into uncharted demographic territory, but on a course many other countries are set to follow. From a report: Japan’s prime minister has called the trend a crisis and vowed to tackle the situation. But national policies have so far failed to dent population decline, though concerted efforts by a sprinkling of small towns have had some effect.
Wednesday’s new data showed deaths hit a record high of more than 1.56 million while there were just 771,000 births in Japan in 2022, the first time the number of newborns has fallen below 800,000 since records began. Even an all-time high increase in foreign residents of more than 10%, to 2.99 million, couldn’t halt a slide in the total population, which has declined for 14 years in a row to 122.42 million in 2022. In January, prime minister Fumio Kishida said that addressing the birthrate was “now or never” and warned, “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions.”