Japan’s population is shrinking and graying at an alarming rate: at the start of 2022, the archipelago had 125.9 million inhabitants, 726,000 less than the previous year.
This was the largest population decline on record, said the Japanese Interior Ministry.
The number of Japanese went down by 619,000 inhabitants to reach 123.2 million. The foreign resident population decreased by 107,000 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting border controls, and totalled just over 2.7 million.
The world’s third largest economy, which has seen its population decline for 13 years now, registered a record 1.4 million deaths last year, but only 810,000 births, fewer than the previous year.
Low birth rates combined with limited immigration have pushed up the average age in Japan far more than in any other industrialised country. As a result thousands of homes are empty or crumbling and many schools have been forced to close.