Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has reported that the nation’s population fell by 263,727, standing at 126,659,683 people as of March. This marks the third consecutive year of decrease, according to the ministry. The single main factor in the natural decline is more deaths than births, with the difference numbering 206,572 for the last year, a new all-time high.
There were also social factors that contributed to the decline, including 57,155 Japanese nationals who chose not to return from overseas, as well as fewer naturalized citizens than in recent years. Unsurprisingly, Fukushima Prefecture suffered from the greatest population loss, down by 44,281 people compared to the year before. The next closest was Hokkaido with 24,700, followed by Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, with roughly 17,000 and 16,000, respectively. Excluding Hokkaido, these were the prefectures that were affected the most by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
There was some growth in comparison to the year before however, with Tokyo showing the largest population increase at 36,810. Japan’s three largest metropolitan cities, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, have a combined population of 64,280,810, accounting for just over 50% of the country’s population. It also indicates that the concentration of the population, as well as any growth of population, continues to be almost exclusively in large urban areas.[via Asia News Network]