Japan’s population has once more sharply declined in 2012 by as much as 212,000, with births totalling only 1.03 million according to estimates from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. This is the lowest birth rate since such data was made available in 1899.
Births in 2012 are on a decline, down by 18,000 or 1.7 percent from the 1.05 million in 2011. Deaths in 2012 only totaled 1.24 million, a slight drop from 2011 figures when the death count rose because of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Even so, the data shows a fast growing elderly population which has to be supported by a dwindling pool of workers. It is the sixth year death rates exceed birth rates, a trend which began in 2005 but temporarily reversed in 2006 and came back in 2007.
Among the causes of death, cancer is ranked highest, with 361,000 recorded cases and is followed by cardiovascular diseases with 196,000. Pneumonia takes third place at 123,000, rising to the top three for the first time since 1951 before which the country did not have adequate measures against it. Cerebrovascular diseases was recorded to have claimed 121,000. The top four causes of death has been unchanged since 2011, comprising about 60 percent of all deaths.
Immigration remains a hot button topic and any suggestion of opening Japan’s doors to young migrant workers who can help up the population has been met with strong resistance, especially among the ultra-conservative right-wing public.
[ via Nikkei ]