Japan census: Population fell nearly 1 million in 2010-15

TOKYO, Jumada I 17, 1437, Feb 26, 2016, SPA — Japan’s latest census confirmed the hard reality long ago signaled by shuttered shops and abandoned villages across the country: the population is shrinking, AP reported.
Japan’s population stood at 127.1 million last fall, down 0.7 percent from 128.1 million in 2010, according to results of the 2015 census, released Friday. The 947,000 decline in the population in the last five years was the first since the once-every-five-years count started in 1920.
Unable to count on a growing market and labor force to power economic expansion, the government has drawn up urgent measures to counter the falling birth rate.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made preventing a decline below 100 million a top priority. But population experts say it would be virtually impossible to prevent that even if the birth rate rose to Abe’s target of 1.8 children per woman from the current birthrate of 1.4.
The census showed Tokyo’s population grew to 13.5 million, up 2.7 percent since the 2010 census.
The rate of population growth peaked in 1950 and has fallen continuously since 1975. By 2011 it had hit zero, the census figures show.
Though Japan is leading this demographic shift, the rest of Asia is following. In South Korea, China and elsewhere in Asia, improved life spans and falling birthrates are raising worries over how to provide for the rapidly expanding ranks of seniors with shrinking labor forces.

–SPA
11:03 LOCAL TIME 08:03 GMT