Population of Japan 2012
The last set of official figures pertaining to Japan’s population were released at the time of the 2010 census and the final statistics showed there to be 128,056,026 people here which would make Japan the tenth largest country in the world.
However, a recent estimate showed that the population of Japan in 2012 had fallen to around 127,960,000 and this represents a commonly held view that the population in Japan is in line for a sharp decline.
Reasons for falling numbers
Some reports claim that Japan’s total population could fall by as much as 30% to around 87 million by 2060 and the reasons, quite simply, point to a disparity in the birth and death rates. In addition, it’s impossible to rule out the part that the March 2011 Tsunami and Earthquake played. 19,000 people lost their lives at the time, and it’s widely accepted that the incidents will have a ‘knock-on’ effect of reducing overall life expectancy.
The difference between rising death rates and lower birth rates is also clearly a factor with low fertility rates among women shouldering part of the blame. Another statistic that doesn’t help the population decline is the alarming number of suicides in young people. In 2009, the figure exceeded 30,000 for the twelfth year in succession and suicide is the chief cause of death in those under 30.
As we’ve seen, the final census figures for 2010 showed a final count of 128,056,026 people with a population density of 336 people per square kilometre, thereby making Japan the 36th most densely populated country on the planet.
Unlike many other countries around the world today, the population of Japan is largely homogenous with the final population statistics comprising of a 98.5% contribution from ethnic Japanese people. In addition, there is a very small proportion of foreign workers living here, largely made up of Koreans, Chinese, Peruvians and Brazilians.
Overall, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world even though it is expected to fall slightly in the near future. However, with low birth rates, the population is rapidly aging but in 2007, the country announced its first significant birth rate increase in many years so could the predictions be false?
Incentives to have more children are also being announced but as a whole, the country is just starting to feel the effects of a post war baby boom many of whom are now nearing the end of their years.
The next countrywide census is due to take place in 2015 and by then, the world will see just how far the population has fallen and whether the experts’ gloomy forecasts for the future of Japan are likely to come true.