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Japan's population falls by record 726,342 to 125.93 mil in 2021

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— Additional data

The number of Japanese decreased 428,617 in 2020 (619,140 in 2021).

The number of resident foreigners fell 55,172 in 2020 (107,202 in 2021).

10 ( +14 / -4 )

So be it. Nothing wrong with a little slowing down in daily life. Japan is not going to “cease to exist”. Japan doesn’t need factories churning out lunchboxes 24h or fathers catching the last train and only seeing their kids on weekends. I lived in a small japanese capital of half a million people and I really miss those days, would live there forever if it wasnt for the snow.

-18 ( +15 / -33 )

The government has long struggled with the challenges of a graying population and a declining workforce, and has hoped to ease the labor shortage by attempting to increase foreign workers.

Who are exploited for their cheap labour, never made to feel part of the community despite their attempts to do so, are made to buy stuff from their employers they don't want and deported when their usefulness has expired. Little wonder.

-3 ( +29 / -32 )

Resident foreigners fell 107,202 to 2,704,341, marking a drop for the second consecutive year due to tighter border controls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

if they were 'residents', is 'border controls' relevant? more like people got fed up with Japan I would have thought..... or did they mean that border controls prevented residents from getting back in? all very ambiguous.

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

Although people who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience usually have negative opinions regarding population reduction, the over population of the Earth by ever consuming Humanity has raised the possibility of a planetary wide 'Major Extinction Event' which would not only devastate the worthy Life as it now exists on Earth, but would also extinguish the cause, Human infestation, and begin a new cycle of ecosystem building such as began circa 65 million years ago caused by an extraterrestrial in origin planet wide catastrophe. While, for some, this might seem a desirable result, for most it would be a great disappointment. That some Human identity groups have responded to this threat by reducing their fecundity may be due to an unrecognised 'quorum sensing' latent in the Human genepool. But, for blind Ruling Classes that depend upon large pools of free range 'workers' and 'soldiers' to maintain their dominance, population decline is seen as a 'disadvantage' and many rationalizations are born and entreaties and rewards offered by them to try overcome the lack of desire of their herds to over reproduce. The one CLEAR fact is that Humanity CANNOT continue to grow and still remain viable and we are already seeing the limits set like concrete in our physical and biological context. However disadvantageous this decline in Japanese fecundity may be viewed by those with only an 'economic' short term interest in their own welfare, the biologist can only applaud Japan and hope that Japan's example to the world is stronger than any of the messages emanating from Greed being sounded in so many parts of our world. There may be hope yet for this instance of ecosphere and Humanity's longer term survival than an ever expanding Human population will allow.

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

“Deaths at an all-time high of around 1.44 million”. Nothing to do with the epidemic of course, which has been managed brilliantly thanks to the superior cultural habit of hiding the head in the sand.

-6 ( +19 / -25 )

Other than pride and ego there is no need for politicians nor the government to keep pushing for the population to continue to rise. It's unsustainable. Only problem is with less people, less tax money!

15 ( +23 / -8 )

@William Bjornson

… the biologist can only applaud Japan and hope that Japan's example to the world is stronger than any of the messages emanating from Greed being sounded in so many parts of our world. 

I first thought, “What have Japan’s leaders done to control the nation’s population?”

But yes, Japan did effectively legalize abortion in 1948, thus dropping its fertility rate from 4.54 in 1947 to 2.04 a decade later.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

More Japan for me !!..

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

Population continues to plummet, birthrate continues to fall, foreign laborers continue to be treated sub-human. Also continuing are the practices of making people stay at the office until 11:00pm twiddling their thumbs, making female graduates of elite universities become the office tea/cleaning lady just because she's female, penalizing people for taking their earned vacation time, and not paying earned overtime. Those practices should totally help solve the first three problems! Young Japanese people can't WAIT to become parents! Best of luck with that one there, Nippon. My wife always says, ain't a damn thing gonna improve in Japan until an entire generation of oyaji leadership dies off.

-4 ( +22 / -26 )

if they were 'residents', is 'border controls' relevant? more like people got fed up with Japan I would have thought..... or did they mean that border controls prevented residents from getting back in? all very ambiguous.

I assume the main impact would have been to prevent new foreign residents from moving here in the first place. Since a significant proportion of the foreign resident population is only living here temporarily, if you go for a year without new ones moving in to make up for the numbers who are leaving, the net effect will be a reduction in the number of foreigner residents.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Although people who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience usually have negative opinions regarding population reduction, t

Do you find that condescension is an effective way of persuading people that your argument is correct?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

While the central government is seeking to improve the birth rate and encourage people to live outside the Tokyo metropolitan area to revitalize regional communities, its measures have yet to bear fruit"

Because lets be honest "govt efforts" are half baked and ineffective.....they, ve been rehashing the same "ideas" for years and years despite them being ineffective. As usual those ideas are the fruit of deadwood oyaji decision makers.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

gov with zero support for young families with kids and than lamenting because amount of taxpayers is decreasing is honestly-not so smart one.

do something about that its about time Fumio!

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

This is why the government keeps raising the retirement age. The wave is cresting. Soon there won’t be enough working people to fund the government pensions. Similar problem with Social Security in the US.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

The government has long struggled with the challenges of a graying population and a declining workforce, and has hoped to ease the labor shortage by attempting to increase foreign workers.

Foreign workers who are exploited and abused and expelled as soon as possible.

The LDP could have led Japan into a gentle decline but instead chose to maximize their own comfort at the expense of the populace.

-10 ( +14 / -24 )

Let me go back home and I"ll add a +1 lol

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

“Deaths at an all-time high of around 1.44 million”. Nothing to do with the epidemic of course, which has been managed brilliantly thanks to the superior cultural habit of hiding the head in the sand.

Of course the math major, seems to have forgotten that Japan has only 3,000 covid deaths in  2022 and cant figure out that if you subtract the 3000 covid death from 1.44 million which leaves 1.39 from other causes.

The poster math skills are brilliantly good thanks to the cultural habit of writing before thinking.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

as deaths again outnumbered births and COVID-19 border restrictions kept foreign resident numbers low, government data showed Tuesday.

And of course, Covid deaths.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

I assume the main impact would have been to prevent new foreign residents from moving here in the first place. Since a significant proportion of the foreign resident population is only living here temporarily, if you go for a year without new ones moving in to make up for the numbers who are leaving, the net effect will be a reduction in the number of foreigner residents.

Now you get it.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

This is a positive trend. Has any one ever stopped to think about the core reason WHY we are having these devastating climate incidents right now that threaten our existence as a species? Duh!

If the human race goes extinct it will be because of stupidity.

 hoped to ease the labor shortage by attempting to increase foreign workers.

To maintain output in an economy with decreasing domestic demand. Doh!

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

"rainydayToday 08:13 am JST

Although people who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience usually have negative opinions regarding population reduction, t

Do you find that condescension is an effective way of persuading people that your argument is correct?"

I don't hope to PERSUADE anyone except to look for themselves and let the facts 'persuade' them. But the 'facts' require a desire to learn and, again, 'those who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience' will never learn the facts but will live comfortably encased in their own cocoon of ignorance. And another 'fact' is, MANY 'do not find learning to be a rewarding experience' because it REQUIRES doubt in one's own opinion and that is too often like asking a deeply religious person to doubt their G-d..

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

As so many commentators are expressing, this is positive news to wake up to.

Year-by-year, Japans environment is under less stress; jobs are very easy to find; trains and roads are becoming less congested; property values in rural areas especially are becoming very affordable, which will make them appealing; it is going to get easier for kids to enter the pre-school/JHS/HS/university of their choice.

Japan is consciously showing the world that quality of life can be maintained - or improved - with a falling population. Endless growth is unsustainable, and people who disagree are not thinking of the big picture.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

The population decline is going hand in hand with the economic decline. Unfortunately demographic issues like this will take decades to rectify if at all.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

William Bjornson

Today 07:39 am JST

One of the best posts I have ever read on Japan Today...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

By prefecture, Tokyo saw the largest decrease at 48,592 people, the first drop since 2013 as the capital experienced significant outflow of foreign residents in addition to the decrease in Japanese moving in.

I'll highlight this for people to remember the next time you see an article suggesting there is a new trend of masses of people moving out of Tokyo to the countryside to change their lifestyle. Such people do exist, and have always existed (many pensions/lodges in the countryside were built by ex-salarymen), but they are vastly outnumbered by young people moving to Tokyo from the countryside, first for college and then for work. Working from home and collapsed real estate prices in inaka make it easier to leave Tokyo now, but there is yet to be a mass exodus, even if that what an article about ex-Tokyo Tanaka san's new cafe in Gunma tries to tell you.

The northeastern Japan prefectures of Akita, Aomori and Yamagata saw the highest rates of decrease at 1.52 percent, 1.35 percent and 1.25 percent, respectively.

I like these northern prefectures but they already face huge problems with Japan's fastest aging populations. One point something percent fewer people means less tax revenue to handle these problems, e.g., to keep the trains and buses running, to keep the hospitals and schools open, and as a corollary, to stop people leaving because everything is closing down.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Thr worst has yet to come for the next 30 years, without any possible measures to counter it.

It does mean : higher taxes, less services (lack of workforce), older population costing money and workforce that could be employed to do anything else.

Ultimately, much more people with reduced wages but increased prices (materials poor country)

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Although people who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience usually have negative opinions regarding population reduction

besides just look at the government stats and you realize most foreigners arrive in Japan for their 1st time to live in Tokyo area and most just stay there, so they never really have a chance to experience a Switzerland-like, relaxing, friendly, clean and high-quality Japan, which is unfortunate.

Go live in Toyama, Kanazawa, Yamagata and you'll have an image of what a population-reduced Japan looks like.

These smaller japanese capitals have everything you need, probably except for big event venues (you have to go to Nagoya etc. to watch those big live music events). You can explore the whole city cycling on the spacious walkways. Free parking everywhere. Most supermarkets close by 9pm (some even by 8pm) but it doesnt really matter as everyone is out of the office before 6. Look up "World's most beautiful Starbucks" and you have an idea what an afterwork evening looks like for the people living there. Obviously the city is too big to know everyone, but everyone is friendly to each other, there is no comparison with driving around Tokyo/Osaka. As soon as you step into the city you're automatically part of the very united foreigner community, monthly FB/Whatsapp group invitations for sleepovers/house parties pop up as soon as you register yourself as a resident at the city hall, no effort, you get to know more people living for 3 months in Toyama than living for 3 years in Tokyo. And yes, absolutely no one has those zombie/dead fish eyes you only find here. Japan will definitely not end with less people.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

726,342 divvied by 365 = 1,990 less Japanese people on average everyday single day...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Although people who do not find learning to be a rewarding experience usually have negative opinions regarding population reduction

That's just a , as someone said , a condescending comment, implying people who don't share your opinion are stupid

the opposite could very well be more likely as overpopulation could be easily seen to cause more problems

Unless you have data to back it up.

I'm just assuming that your opinion is population reduction is good though, from that initial statement, because tldr

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I'm with Thanos on this one.

I can clearly remember in the mid-70's's when the world population exceeded 4 billion for the first time.

The news was full of "Can we sustain production/ agriculture/ resources?"

Now we are almost double that.

There are just too damn many of us, living far too long. I thought COVID was going to be Mother Earth's remedy for that, but we seem to have wriggled out of that one.

I'm sure she'll figure something out.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I thought COVID was going to be Mother Earth's remedy for that

Convenient remedy too, mostly sick and elderly dying.

Anyway you shouldn't worry about sustainability, if population goes beyond what can be sustained then it will naturally go down.

And humans can always be depended upon to whittle down the population every so often

5 ( +7 / -2 )

towingthelineToday  10:02 am JST

726,342 divvied by 365 = 1,990 less Japanese people on average everyday single day...

Depends on what you mean.

726,342 is the net deficitary balance after adding the yearly births and deducting the yearly deaths. If you mean "less population", you're definitely correct.

But, each year...

The number of Japanese decreased by 619,140 to 123,223,561 for the 13th straight year of decline, with deaths at an all-time high of around 1.44 million and births at a record low of around 810,000.

...1.44 mio people die which equals to 1,440,000 / 365 = 3,945 "less individuals" every day, individuals who had lives, families and friends and leave us every single day.

Well. C'est la vie. We'll all get there someday...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MANY 'do not find learning to be a rewarding experience' because it REQUIRES doubt in one's own opinion and that is too often like asking a deeply religious person to doubt their G-d..

Well, on that note has it ever occurred to you that your own opinion might be wrong? When you start your argument by stating as fact that anyone with an opinion contrary to your own must be an uneducated moron who dislikes learning it really makes me doubt that.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

My wife always says, ain't a damn thing gonna improve in Japan until an entire generation of oyaji leadership dies off.

I’ve been here long enough to see the Oyaji leadership die off. Abe’s father was in power, for example; Nakasone was prime minister of the day.

Things don’t change. Not even the age of the oyaji.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

finally rich: "Japan doesn’t need factories churning out lunchboxes 24h or fathers catching the last train and only seeing their kids on weekends."

It's cute that you think that will DECREASE as the population does. Instead of them being able to take the last train home and only seeing their kids on weekends, it'll be only seeing them via Zoom since they'll have to put in even more overtime. It would be nice, for sure, if things slowed down here and life were simpler, but do you honestly believe we'll be working less and more relaxed as health care costs sky-rocket and the work force is cut in half as the elderly become more than half the population?

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

In 2008 both France and Sweden had a 50%+ rate of children born 'out of wedlock', the US was 40%. Japan...2.1%. In all three countries, apart form Japan, the average age of a 'new mother' was lower than the average age their first marry - Japan's rate was 30.3 years old and 29.2 years old respectively. Those curves aren't going to flatten anytime soon.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have been a loyal tax payer in Japan for 9 years and work in an industry with a critical talent shortage - tech sector - yet I have only 65 points on the PR eligibility scale and therefore do not qualify for PR.

If the government wants to fix this problem and attract foreign talent; they should fix this.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I have been a loyal tax payer in Japan for 9 years and work in an industry with a critical talent shortage - tech sector - yet I have only 65 points on the PR eligibility scale and therefore do not qualify for PR.

What's the requirement 70pts?

Anyway it's not necessary (afaik) if you already have 10 years residency so your application can be accepted when you do.

Point system is so people with critical skills can apply sooner

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have a daughter who got married last year, and I desperately want to be called "Grandpa," but there is no way I would encourage her to have children. (Nor would I discourage her. It's completely her and her husband's decision. But that is not my point.) We live in one of those Tohoku rural towns and the closest obstetrician is at least a 30-minute drive, and that would be booking it. More like 45 minutes to an hour. Why? Because neither the prefectural nor municipal (so-called) general hospitals that are in our city offer obstetrics. (I'm not sure about gynecology, but I know they don't offer obstetrics. And don't even get me started about how they have the gall to call themselves "general hospitals" when they can't offer the most basic of services.) The only private doctor still left in our city retired as of March this year. (He was my wife's doctor for 2 out of our three children. I don't know how old he was, but he'd been working for at least 30 years, so he well deserves retirement.) I know several city council people and offered them a piece of my mind about how they are doing nothing to help people build families while complaining about the population decline. Well, my ranting didn't do too much good. (I knew it wouldn't.) Instead, they started saying that they can't attract obstetricians to the area because the pay is so low. So if paying obstetricians more than other doctors is the answer, that's what they should be doing. But for some silly reason, all new doctors get paid the same, regardless of discipline. Who wants to have to be available 24 hours a day for the same pay as a dermatologist working 9 to 5?

Hopefully, someday I will be called Grandpa, but I'm not holding my breath.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Now at the peak of covid, Japan and the Japanese were paying themselves on the back for having low covid deaths and many kept saying there was no increase in deaths.

We now we know the no increase in deaths wasn't true.

The government's own figures now show a sudden sharp increase in deaths.

Now seeing no autopsies are required will will never know for sure, but if we look at other developed countries that properly tracked covid deaths, it is more likely than not Covid has a part in the sudden increase in deaths

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

There is nothing wrong in principle with a falling population. Whether there are 120m or 130m inhabitants in Japan is 10 years is not in itself relevant. What does matter is the composition of the population and the productive capacity. A population fall driven by a low birth rate is necessarily accompanied by an increase in the proportion of elderly. The problem that has to be confronted is how those in work can produce enough to support those who are retired. A technological revolution would help, but in the absence of that miracle the easiest solution is to raise the retirement age. That only works is the elderly are capable of work so it has to be accompanied by an improvement in general health levels. The policy of increasing retirement saving does not help since it will not raise output but simply increases the share of output claimed by the old relative to the young.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Despite all the panic this is a good thing. Japan cannot sustain ongoing population growth. The main reason there is so much panic is because the ridiculous pension system that makes the current generation pay for the previous generation. They really need to scrap this stupid system and turn it into a superannuation system with positive returns on the investment. The current system gives you less than 20% of your investment. The other 80% goes to the previous generations.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The taxes are going to keep getting hiked while your paycheck will just keep shrinking. The younger people will be feeling the pinch get stronger year on year.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"ian Today 10:25 am JST

I thought COVID was going to be Mother Earth's remedy for that

Convenient remedy too, mostly sick and elderly dying.

Anyway you shouldn't worry about sustainability, if population goes beyond what can be sustained then it will naturally go down."

Yes. In biology it's called a 'dieback' when the numbers are so great that the food source runs out all at once and usually results in a COMPLETE crash of the population. If you look it up, you may see an upward geometric slope (rapidly increasing numbers such as the current Human birthrate) that begins to curve horizontally and then abruptly falls straight down to zero.

"rainydayToday 10:36 am JST

MANY 'do not find learning to be a rewarding experience' because it REQUIRES doubt in one's own opinion and that is too often like asking a deeply religious person to doubt their G-d..

Well, on that note has it ever occurred to you that your own opinion might be wrong? When you start your argument by stating as fact that anyone with an opinion contrary to your own must be an uneducated moron who dislikes learning it really makes me doubt that."

When I find even the smallest thing that disagrees with something I perceive, in my limited Human perception, to be true, I research it and do the best I can to determine if what I perceive or it are less probable and, if the thing is more probable, I adjust my perception accordingly. The 'opinion' I trust the least is my own. It is why I am a scientist because of just one question, "What am I REALLY in relation to this Universe? It's a large question actually which requires me to absorb as much information regarding my CONTEXT as I am able in all areas because insights come from the weirdest places. But, again, I am limited by being a Human with an expanded monkey brain that has very finite limits. And I did not accuse anyone of being a "moron" but just not interested in learning and satisfied that they have the opinions they need to get by and feel no need to expand them and that, as such, in my own observations, "USUALLY have negative opinions regarding population reduction". I apologize if you took it personally...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

A low birth rate and a growing elderly population leads to a shortage of workers. Not good if you are hoping to receive a government pension in 30 years time. It would be best to save and invest in other areas for your retirement. It is obligatory right now to pay into the government pension scheme.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan is getting to "net zero" one death at a time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese population will grow, but it will be done by foreigners intermarrying and the face of Japan will change over time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Forgive me in advance if I'm misunderstanding something here, but if the people who are passing away are the elderly for the most part, doesn't that mean there are fewer people on the pension system as well?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is dreadful. Japanese people need to look to themselves, what is good for them and their country. Stop looking to USA trash culture and stop working yourselves into the ground.

Japan must survive!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hopefully less people means less competition for apartments, and so lower rents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hopefully less people means less competition for apartments, and so lower rents.

Maybe but what about the rising health care costs. They can scrap the pension system and let you save for your retirement. The government will have to change a few things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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