Yesterday, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, a health ministry-affiliated research institute, said that the overall population in Japan will considerably drop in 2040 compared to the recorded numbers in 2010. All 47 prefectures are said to be affected, with Okinawa having the least possible decline of 1.7% and Akita with the highest drop at 35.6%. These estimates were formulated on the basis of national census data gathered in October 2010.
The forecast said that the population in Japan is likely to drop 16.2% in 2040 from the 2010 levels. The number will fall to 107.28 million by 2040, which is some 20 million drop from the recorded number in 2010. This should be the first time Japan would experience a sweeping decline in population in every prefecture. The study also noted that people aged 65 years or older will account for a significant 30% of the total population in 2040. The proportion of these elderly people is believed to be highest in Akita at 43.8%.
One of the factors blamed for the decline in population is the falling fertility rate in Japan. The healthy ministry said in January that the country’s population last year was at an estimate of 125.95 million. The number of newborn babies was at a record low of 1,033,000—that’s 18,000 less babies than in 2011. A ministry official said that if the younger generation continues to decrease, it should not come as a surprise that the forecasts could come true.