Japan’s population declines for 14th year while foreign residents hit record high

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Data released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reveals that the population of Japanese nationals has dropped for the 14th year in a row, decreasing by about 800,000 people to 122.42 million in 2022, based on resident registration numbers as of January 1, 2023.

Last-minute New Year’s shoppers crowd Tokyo’s biggest street food market, the Ameyoko shopping district, in Japan on December 29, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

Recent government data has revealed that while the population of Japanese nationals has decreased at the fastest pace ever, the number of foreign residents has risen to a record high of nearly 3 million people. Over the years, foreign nationals have increasingly contributed to Japanese society as the country’s population continues to shrink.

The latest data, which shows that the number of Japanese nationals has fallen by about 800,000 to 122.42 million in 2022, points to the growing role of foreign nationals. Japan’s population reached its peak in 2008 and has since experienced a decline due to the country’s low birth rate, which hit a record low last year.

The data also indicates that the number of foreign nationals with an address in Japan was 2.99 million people as of Jan. 1, a 10.7% increase from the previous year. This year-on-year increase is the highest since the internal ministry started tracking the non-Japanese category a decade ago.

With the rising number of foreign residents, the government has made it a priority to reverse the country’s sliding birth rate. To achieve this goal, the government, led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, plans to spend 3.5 trillion yen ($24.84 billion) annually on child care and other measures to support parents, despite the country’s high levels of debt.

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Toshika Chauhan

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