07/07/2017, 12.58
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Japan’s demographic decline continues at its fastest rate since 1968

The population fell for the eighth consecutive year. The number of births fell by 2.9 per cent, the lowest ever recorded. The number of foreigners is up despite Japanese reluctance and pride in the country’s cultural and ethnic homogeneity.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Japan's population, excluding resident foreigners, fell at its fastest pace since comparable figures were kept in 1968, government data showed Wednesday.

As of 1st January, the number of Japanese fell by 308,084 from a year earlier to 125,583,658, marking the eighth consecutive year of declines.

As the government forecast in December, the number of births fell below one million for the first time, at 981,202, down by 2.9 per cent over the previous year. It is the lowest figure since comparable data became available in 1974.

People aged 65 or older accounted for 27.2 per cent of the total population, the highest ratio on record, whilst the ratio of those aged 14 or younger fell to a record low of 12.7 per cent.

The number of registered foreign residents increased to 2,323,428, up 6.9 percent from a year earlier. This is significant given Japan’s reluctance towards immigration.

Many Japanese pride themselves on what they see as their cultural and ethnic homogeneity, even as the population ages and its workforce shrinks. However, the government has stepped up efforts to attract students and high-skilled workers from overseas.

Japan’s overall population, which combines both Japanese and resident foreigners, fell 0.1 per cent from a year ago to just under 128 million.

The Catholic Church is very concerned about the situation. For its part, the Japanese government adopted a tax package for 2017 Tokyo that includes childcare incentives.

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