Tokyo, Aug. 4 (Jiji Press)–The number of Japanese people living in Japan as of Jan. 1 fell by 428,617, or 0.34 pct, from a year before to 123,842,701, down for the 12th consecutive year, a government survey showed Wednesday.
The number of foreign residents in Japan fell by 55,172, or 1.92 pct, to 2,811,543, the first decline in seven years, according to the internal affairs ministry survey, based on the nation’s resident registry.
A decline in the number of people entering the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic is seen to be behind the decrease in foreign residents.
The combined population of Japanese and foreign people dropped 0.38 pct to 126,654,244.
The number of annual births of Japanese in the country stood at 843,321, marking a record low for the fifth straight year.
The natural population decrease, or the number of deaths minus that of births, came to 530,608, up for the 13th consecutive year.
The social population increase, or the number of people who moved into Japan minus that of those who moved out, stood at a record high of 101,991.
COVID-19-related border restrictions imposed by foreign countries led to a decrease in the number of people who moved out of Japan, ministry officials said.
Among Japan’s 47 prefectures, only five–Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Okinawa–showed increases in their populations.
Akita had the biggest population decline, down 1.40 pct, followed by Aomori, down 1.22 pct, and Iwate, down 1.14 pct.
Okinawa was the only prefecture to mark a natural population increase.
Twelve prefectures logged social population increases. Tokyo’s social increase shrank by 26,807 people from the year before due to an increase in residents leaving for regional areas, following the widespread adoption of teleworking amid the pandemic.
The combined population of Japanese and foreign people in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan areas fell for the first time since records began in 2013. The Japanese population in the three areas sank to 64,440,814, down for the third straight year.
The three metropolitan areas made up 52 pct of Japan’s total population. Only the Tokyo area, including Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, recorded population growth.