Demographics of Japan

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The demographic features of the population of Japan include population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects regarding the population.

Changes in Japan's population.
Japanese birth and death rates since 1950.

Based on the census from October 2010, Japan's population was at one of its peaks - 128,057,352. For March 2012 the population estimate was 127,650,000[1] making it the world's tenth most populated country. Current statistics do not showcase much difference in population numbers.[2] Japan's population size can be attributed to high growth rates experienced during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In recent years, Japan has experienced net population loss due to falling birth rates and almost no net immigration, despite having one of the highest life expectancies in the world at 81.25 years of age as of 2006.[3] Using the annual estimate for October of each year, the population peaked in 2008 at 128,083,960 and had fallen 285,256 by October 2011.[4] Japan's population density was 336 people per square kilometer.

Based on the Health and Welfare ministry estimation released in January 2012, Japan's population will keep declining by about one million people every year in the coming decades, which will leave Japan with a population of 87 million in 2060. By that time, more than 40% of the population is expected to be over the age of 65.[5] In 2012, the population for a sixth straight year of declines by 212,000 as the biggest drop on record since 1947 and also a record low of 1.03 million number of births.[6] In 2013, a new record of population drop happened with 244,000 people. Today more than 20 percent of population are aged 65 or over.[7]

The population ranking of Japan dropped from 7th to 8th in 1990, to 9th in 1998, and to 10th since.

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1910 50,984,840 —    
1915 54,935,755 +7.7%
1920 55,963,053 +1.9%
1925 59,736,822 +6.7%
1930 64,450,005 +7.9%
1935 69,254,148 +7.5%
1940 73,075,071 +5.5%
1945 71,998,104 −1.5%
1950 83,199,637 +15.6%
1955 89,275,529 +7.3%
1960 93,418,501 +4.6%
1965 98,274,961 +5.2%
1970 103,720,060 +5.5%
1975 111,939,643 +7.9%
1980 117,060,396 +4.6%
1985 121,048,923 +3.4%
1990 123,611,167 +2.1%
1995 125,570,246 +1.6%
2000 126,925,843 +1.1%
2005 127,767,994 +0.7%
2010 128,057,352 +0.2%
2014 127,220,000 −0.7%

Population[edit]

Census[edit]

Japan collects census information every five years. The exercise is conducted by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Population density[edit]

Japan's population density is 336 people per square kilometer according to the United Nations World Populations Prospects Report as of July 2005. It ranks 37th in a list of countries by population density, ranking directly above India (336 per km²) and directly below Belgium (341 per km²). Between 1955 and 1989, land prices in the six largest cities increased 15,000% (+12% a year). Urban land prices generally increased 40% from 1980 to 1987; in the six largest cities, the price of land doubled over that period. For many families, this trend put housing in central cities out of reach.

Japanese population density map per prefecture as of 2009 per square kilometer:
  0–100
  101–200
  201–300
  301–400
  401–500
  500–1000
  1000–5514

The result was lengthy commutes for many workers; daily commutes of two hours each way are not uncommon in the Tokyo area. After a decade of declining land prices, residents have been moving back into central city areas (especially Tokyo's 23 wards), as evidenced by 2005 census figures. Despite the large amount of forested land in Japan, parks in cities are smaller and scarcer than in major West European or North American cities, which average 10 times the amount of parkland per inhabitant.[citation needed]

National and regional governments devote resources to making regional cities and rural areas more attractive by developing transportation networks, social services, industry, and educational institutions in attempts to decentralize settlement and improve the quality of life. Nevertheless, major cities, especially Tokyo, Yokohama and Chiba and, to a lesser extent, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, remain attractive to young people seeking education and jobs.[citation needed]

Urban distribution[edit]

Japan is an urban society with about only 5% of the labor force working in agriculture. Many farmers supplement their income with part-time jobs in nearby towns and cities. About 80 million of the urban population is heavily concentrated on the Pacific shore of Honshū.

Metropolitan Tokyo-Yokohama, with 35,000,000 people living there, is the world's most populous city. Japan faces the same problems that confront urban industrialized societies throughout the world: over-crowded cities and congested highways.

Aging of Japan[edit]

Like other postindustrial countries, Japan faces the benefits as well as potential drawbacks associated with an aging population. While countries with young populations may wrestle with problems of crime, poverty, and social unrest, countries with older populations often enjoy higher standards of living. However, the demographic shift in Japan's age profile has triggered concerns about the nation's economic future and the viability of its welfare state.[8] In 1989, only 11.6% of the population was 65 years or older, but by 2007, that figure had risen to 21.2%, making Japan one of the "greyest" countries on Earth.[9]

Overview of the changing age distribution 1935–2010[10]
Year Total population
(census; in thousands)
Population by age (%)
0–14 15–64 65+
1935 69,254 36.9 58.5 4.7
1940 73,075 36.1 59.2 5.7
1945 71,998 36.8 58.1 5.1
1950 84,115 35.4 59.6 4.9
1955 90,077 33.4 61.2 5.3
1960 94,302 30.2 64.1 5.7
1965 99,209 25.7 68.0 6.3
1970 104,665 24.0 68.9 7.1
1975 111,940 24.3 67.7 7.9
1980 117,060 23.5 67.3 9.1
1985 121,049 21.5 68.2 10.3
1990 123,611 18.2 69.5 12.0
1995 125,570 15.9 69.4 14.5
2000 126,962 14.6 67.9 17.3
2005 127,768 13.7 65.8 20.1
2010 128,058 13.2 63.7 23.1

Demographic statistics from the CIA World Factbook[edit]

Population[edit]

Population in 47,062,743 households, 78.7% in urban areas (July 2000). High population density; 329.5 persons per square kilometer for total area; 1,523 persons per square kilometer for habitable land. More than 50% of population lives on 2% of land. (July 1993)

Sex ratio[edit]

(2010 est.)

at birth: 1.056 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female

(2006 est.)

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female

HIV/AIDS[edit]

adult prevalence rate

less than 0.1% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS

9,600 (2007 est.)
12,000 (2003 est.)

deaths

fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
500 (2003 est.)

Ethnic groups[edit]

98.5% Japanese and 1.5% other.[11] The concept of the ethnic groups by the Japanese statistics is different from the ethnicity census of North American, Australasian, Brazilian or some Western European statistics. For example, the United Kingdom Census asks ethnic or racial background which composites the population of the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationalities. The Japanese Statistics Bureau, however, does not have this question yet. Since the Japanese population census asks the people's nationality rather than their ethnic background, naturalized Japanese citizens and Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic background are considered to be ethnically Japanese in the population census of Japan.[12]

Thus, in spite of the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous, at least one academic recommends description of it as a multiethnic society.[13] Internal to Japan, a distinction between 'Polynesian-type' (darker-skinned, round-eyed) Jomon and 'Continental-type' (lighter-skinned, narrow-eyed) Yayoi is sometimes observed, although the popular shorthand does not actually reflect the observed 90% Yayoi / 10% Jomon haploid-group frequency of modern Japanese DNA.

Foreign citizens[edit]

More than 2.5 million (potentially higher because of undocumented migrants) foreigners live in Japan. The number grew by 14.9% in five years. The two largest sources of foreign citizens in Japan are 0.53 million North and South Koreans and 0.67 million Chinese followed by smaller numbers of Filipinos and Brazilians. Other nationalities include: Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, Indonesians, Thais, South Africans, Nigerians, Iranians, Russians, Turks, Indians and European Union.

Historically, the largest number of foreign citizens in Japan were Japanese-born people of Korean ancestry. In recent years Korean-born Koreans have come to outnumber Japanese-born Koreans and Koreans whether foreign or Japan-born are now substantially outnumbered by Chinese. Indeed, if only foreign-born foreign nationals are considered, the long term foreign resident population of Japan can justifiably described as "predominantly Chinese."

Marital status[edit]

Over 15: Never married Male 61.8%, Female 58.2%. Never married Male 31.8%, Female 23.7%.
25 – 29: Never married Male 69.3%, Female 54.0%.
30 – 34: Never married Male 42.9%, Female 26.6% (July 2000).

Family and sex[edit]

According to a government survey, more than a quarter of unmarried men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins. 50% of men and women in Japan said they were not “going out with anybody”.[14]

Vital statistics[edit]

Live births, birth and death rates and overall fertility rate in Japan from 1899 to present.[15][16][17]

[21]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rate[18] Infant mortality rate (per 1000 births) Life expectancy[19] (males) Life expectancy (females)
1899 1386 981 32.0 21.5 10.5 153.8
1900 43 847 1470 000 916 000 554 000 31.7 20.4 12.6 155.0
1901 44 359 1557 000 931 000 626 000 33.1 20.4 14.1 149.9
1902 44 964 1570 000 965 000 605 000 32.9 20.9 13.5 154.0
1903 45 546 1552 000 936 000 616 000 32.0 20.0 13.5 152.4
1904 46 135 1500 000 1005 000 495 000 30.6 21.2 10.7 151.9
1905 46 620 1517 000 1047 000 470 000 30.6 21.9 10.1 151.7
1906 47 038 1461 000 962 000 499 000 29.0 20.0 10.6 153.6
1907 47 416 1685 000 1025 000 660 000 33.2 21.0 13.9 151.3
1908 47 965 1734 000 1037 000 697 000 33.7 20.9 14.5 158.0
1909 48 554 1766 000 1098 000 668 000 33.9 21.9 13.8 167.3
1910 49 184 1782 000 1071 000 711 000 33.9 21.1 14.5 161.2
1911 49 852 1821 000 1050 000 771 000 34.1 20.4 15.5 158.4
1912 50 577 1817 000 1044 000 773 000 33.4 20.0 15.3 154.2
1913 51 305 1835 000 1035 000 800 000 33.3 19.5 15.6 152.1
1914 52 039 1883 000 1109 000 774 000 33.8 20.6 14.9 158.5
1915 52 752 1872 000 1110 000 762 000 33.2 20.2 14.4 160.4
1916 53 496 1873 000 1196 000 677 000 32.9 21.6 12.7 170.3
1917 54 134 1883 000 1208 000 675 000 32.7 21.6 12.5 173.2
1918 54 739 1856 000 1503 000 353 000 32.2 26.7 6.4 188.6
1919 55 033 1850 000 1290 000 560 000 31.6 22.8 10.2 170.5
1920 55 963 2105 000 1431 000 674 000 36.2 25.4 12.0 165.7
1921 56 666 1991 000 1289 000 702 000 35.1 22.7 12.4 168.3
1922 57 390 1969 000 1287 000 682 000 34.3 22.4 11.9 166.4
1923 58 119 2043 000 1332 000 711 000 35.2 22.9 12.2 163.4
1924 58 876 1999 000 1255 000 744 000 33.9 21.3 12.6 156.2
1925 59 737 2080 000 1211 000 869 000 34.9 20.3 14.5 5.10 142.4
1926 60 741 2104 000 1161 000 943 000 34.6 19.1 15.5 137.5
1927 61 659 2061 000 1214 000 847 000 33.4 19.7 13.7 141.6
1928 62 595 2136 000 1237 000 899 000 34.1 19.8 14.4 136.7
1929 63 461 2077 000 1261 000 816 000 32.7 19.9 12.9 142.1
1930 64 450 2085 000 1171 000 914 000 32.4 18.2 14.2 4.70 124.1
1931 65 457 2103 000 1241 000 862 000 32.1 19.0 13.2 131.5
1932 65 800 2165 000 1165 000 1000 000 32.9 17.7 15.2 117.5
1933 66 790 2104 000 1182 000 922 000 31.5 17.7 13.8 121.3
1934 67 680 2028 289 1225 402 802 887 29.9 18.1 11.9 124.8
1935 68 662 2174 291 1152 371 1021 920 31.6 16.8 14.9 106.7
1936 69 590 2086 355 1220 023 866 332 30.0 17.5 12.4 116.7 46.92 49.63
1937 70 360 2164 949 1198 400 966 549 30.9 17.1 13.7 105.8
1938 70 590 1911 966 1250 093 661 873 27.2 17.7 9.4 114.4
1939 70 930 1885 957 1258 514 627 443 26.6 17.8 8.8 106.2
1940 71 540 2100 164 1176 517 923 647 29.4 16.4 12.9 4.11 90.0
1941 72 750 2260 270 1140 428 1119 842 31.1 15.7 15.4 84.1
1942 73 450 2216 271 1157 845 1058 426 30.3 15.8 14.4 85.5
1943 73 980 2235 431 1204 802 1030 629 30.3 16.3 13.9 86.6
1944 73 865 2149 843 1279 639 870 204 29.2 17.4 11.8
1945 72 410 1685 583 2113 798 -428 215 23.2 29.2 -5.9
1946 75 300 1905 809 1326 592 579 217 25.3 17.6 7.7
1947 78 025 2678 792 1138 238 1540 554 34.3 14.6 19.7 4.54 76.7 50.06 53.96
1948 79 500 2681 624 950 610 1731 014 33.7 12.0 21.8 4.40 61.7 55.6 59.4
1949 81 300 2696 638 945 444 1751 194 33.2 11.6 21.5 4.32 62.5 56.2 59.8
1950 82 900 2337 507 904 876 1432 631 28.2 10.9 17.3 3.65 60.1 58.0 61.5
1951 84 235 2137 689 838 998 1298 691 25.4 10.0 15.4 3.26 57.5 59.57 62.97
1952 85 503 2005 162 765 068 1240 094 23.5 8.9 14.5 2.98 49.4 61.9 65.5
1953 86 695 1868 040 772 547 1095 493 21.5 8.9 12.6 2.69 48.9 61.9 65.7
1954 87 976 1769 580 721 491 1048 089 20.1 8.2 11.9 2.48 44.6 63.41 67.69
1955 89 020 1730 692 693 523 1037 169 19.4 7.8 11.7 2.37 39.8 63.60 67.75
1956 89 953 1665 278 724 460 940 818 18.5 8.1 10.5 2.22 40.6 63.59 67.54
1957 90 734 1566 713 752 445 814 268 17.3 8.3 9.0 2.04 40.0 63.24 67.60
1958 91 546 1653 469 684 189 969 280 18.1 7.5 10.6 2.11 34.5 64.98 69.61
1959 92 434 1626 088 689 959 936 129 17.6 7.5 10.1 2.04 33.7 65.21 69.88
1960 94 094 1627 939 711 230 916 709 17.3 7.6 9.7 2.00 30.7 65.32 70.19
1961 94 943 1611 772 700 459 911 313 17.0 7.4 9.6 1.96 28.6 66.03 70.79
1962 95 832 1639 631 715 163 924 468 17.1 7.5 9.6 1.98 26.4 66.23 71.16
1963 96 812 1681 242 675 721 1005 521 17.4 7.0 10.4 2.00 23.2 67.21 72.34
1964 97 826 1737 277 678 104 1059 173 17.8 6.9 10.8 2.05 20.4 67.67 72.87
1965 98 883 1844 452 705 363 1139 089 18.7 7.1 11.5 2.14 18.5 67.74 72.92
1966 99 790 1378 968 675 351 703 617 13.8 6.8 7.1 1.58 19.3 68.35 73.61
1967 100 725 1956 725 679 797 1276 928 19.4 6.7 12.7 2.23 14.9 68.91 74.15
1968 102 061 1893 219 691 647 1201 572 18.5 6.8 11.8 2.13 15.3 69.05 74.30
1969 103 172 1910 927 698 669 1212 258 18.5 6.8 11.7 2.13 14.2 69.18 74.67
1970 104 345 1955 277 718 135 1237 142 18.7 6.9 11.9 2.13 13.1 69.31 74.66
1971 105 697 2022 204 689 542 1332 662 19.1 6.5 12.6 2.16 12.4 70.17 75.58
1972 107 188 2059 533 688 788 1370 745 19.2 6.4 12.8 2.14 11.7 70.50 75.94
1973 108 709 2091 983 709 416 1382 567 19.2 6.5 12.7 2.14 11.3 70.70 76.02
1974 110 162 2029 989 710 510 1319 479 18.4 6.4 12.0 2.05 10.8 71.16 76.31
1975 111 573 1901 440 702 275 1199 165 17.0 6.3 10.7 1.91 10.0 71.73 76.89
1976 112 775 1832 617 703 270 1129 347 16.3 6.2 10.0 1.85 9.3 72.15 77.35
1977 113 872 1755 100 690 074 1065 026 15.4 6.1 9.4 1.80 8.9 72.69 77.95
1978 114 913 1708 643 695 821 1012 822 14.9 6.1 8.8 1.79 8.4 72.97 78.33
1979 115 890 1642 580 689 664 952 916 14.2 6.0 8.2 1.77 7.9 73.46 78.89
1980 116 807 1576 889 722 801 854 088 13.5 6.2 7.3 1.75 7.5 73.35 78.76
1981 117 661 1529 455 720 262 809 193 13.0 6.1 6.9 1.74 7.1 73.79 79.13
1982 118 480 1515 392 711 883 803 509 12.8 6.0 6.8 1.77 6.6 74.22 79.66
1983 119 307 1508 687 740 038 768 649 12.6 6.2 6.4 1.80 6.2 74.20 79.78
1984 120 083 1489 786 740 247 749 539 12.4 6.2 6.2 1.81 6.0 74.54 80.18
1985 120 837 1431 577 752 283 679 294 11.8 6.2 5.6 1.76 5.5 74.78 80.48
1986 121 482 1382 976 750 620 632 356 11.4 6.2 5.2 1.72 5.2 75.23 80.93
1987 122 069 1346 658 751 172 595 486 11.0 6.2 4.9 1.69 5.0 75.61 81.39
1988 122 578 1314 006 793 014 520 992 10.7 6.5 4.3 1.66 4.8 75.54 81.30
1989 123 069 1246 802 788 594 458 208 10.1 6.4 3.7 1.57 4.6 75.91 81.77
1990 123 478 1221 585 820 305 401 280 9.9 6.6 3.2 1.54 4.6 75.92 81.90
1991 123 964 1223 245 829 797 393 448 9.9 6.7 3.2 1.53 4.4 76.11 82.11
1992 124 425 1208 989 856 643 352 346 9.7 6.9 2.8 1.50 4.5 76.09 82.22
1993 124 829 1188 282 878 532 309 750 9.5 7.0 2.5 1.46 4.3 76.25 82.51
1994 125 178 1238 328 875 933 362 395 9.9 7.0 2.9 1.50 4.2 76.57 82.98
1995 125 472 1187 064 922 139 264 925 9.5 7.3 2.1 1.42 4.3 76.38 82.85
1996 125 757 1206 555 896 211 310 344 9.6 7.1 2.4 1.43 3.8 77.01 83.59
1997 126 057 1209 000 921 000 288 000 9.6 7.3 2.3 1.39 3.7 77.19 83.82
1998 126 400 1215 000 933 000 282 000 9.6 7.4 2.2 1.38 3.6 77.16 84.01
1999 126 631 1197 000 985 000 212 000 9.5 7.8 1.7 1.34 3.4 77.10 83.99
2000 126 843 1194 000 968 000 226 000 9.4 7.6 1.8 1.36 3.2 77.72 84.60
2001 127 130 1185 000 966 000 219 000 9.3 7.6 1.7 1.33 3.1 78.07 84.93
2002 127 386 1176 000 980 000 196 000 9.2 7.7 1.5 1.32 3.0 78.32 85.23
2003 127 670 1139 000 1023 000 116 000 8.9 8.0 0.9 1.29 3.0 78.36 85.33
2004 127 680 1126 000 1024 000 102 000 8.8 8.0 0.8 1.29 2.8 78.64 85.59
2005 127 760 1087 000 1078 000 9 000 8.5 8.4 0.1 1.26 2.8 78.56 85.52
2006 127 710 1092 674 1084 450 8 224 8.6 8.5 0.1 1.32 2.6 79.00 85.81
2007 127 750 1101 000 1103 000 -2 000 8.6 8.6 -0.0 1.34 2.6 79.19 85.99
2008 127 680 1108 000 1142 000 -34 000 8.7 8.9 -0.3 1.37 2.6 79.29 86.05
2009 127 550 1087 000 1146 000 -59 000 8.5 9.0 -0.5 1.37 2.4 79.59 86.44
2010 127 430 1083 000 1189 000 -105 000 8.5 9.5 -1.0 1.39[20] 2.3 79.64 86.39
2011 127 770 1050 806 1253 066 -202 260 8.3 9.9 -1.6 1.39 2.3 79.44 85.90
2012 127 400 1037 101 1256 254 -219 153 8.2 10.0 -1.7 1.41 2.3 79.94 86.41
2013 127 150 1031 000 1275 000 -244 000 8.2 10.1 -1.9 1.42(e)

2012 (and 2011) update:[22]

Total Fertility Rate[edit]

The 2012 Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for Japan was estimated at 1.41 children per woman, increasing slightly from 1.32 in the 2001-05 period. In 2012, the highest Total Fertility Rate was 1.90, in Okinawa, and the lowest was 1.09, in Tokyo. TFR by prefecture for 2000-2005, as well as future estimates, have been released.[23]:page 30

Migration[edit]

Internal migration[edit]

Between 6 million and 7 million people moved their residences each year during the 1980s. About 50% of these moves were within the same prefecture; the others were relocations from one prefecture to another. During Japan's economic development in the twentieth century, and especially during the 1950s and 1960s, migration was characterized by urbanization as people from rural areas in increasing numbers moved to the larger metropolitan areas in search of better jobs and education. Out-migration from rural prefectures continued in the late 1980s, but more slowly than in previous decades.

In the 1980s, government policy provided support for new urban development away from the large cities, particularly Tokyo, and assisted regional cities to attract young people to live and work there. Regional cities offered familiarity to those from nearby areas, lower costs of living, shorter commutes, and, in general, a more relaxed lifestyle than could be had in larger cities. Young people continued to move to large cities, however, to attend universities and find work, but some returned to regional cities (a pattern known as U-turn) or to their prefecture of origin (a pattern referred to as J-turn).

Government statistics show that in the 1980s significant numbers of people left the largest central cities (Tokyo and Osaka) to move to suburbs within their metropolitan areas. In 1988 more than 500,000 people left Tokyo, which experienced a net loss through migration of nearly 73,000 for the year. Osaka had a net loss of nearly 36,000 in the same year.

The prefectures showing the highest net growth are located near the major urban centers, such as Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Kanagawa around Tokyo, and Hyogo, Nara, and Shiga near Osaka and Kyoto. This pattern suggests a process of suburbanization, people moving away from the cities for affordable housing but still commuting there for work and recreation, rather than a true decentralization. More people in Japan like to live near coastal areas because they are easier to travel around in than the mountainous interior.

Emigration[edit]

About 663,100 Japanese were living abroad, approximately 75,000 of whom had permanent foreign residency, more than six times the number who had that status in 1975. More than 200,000 Japanese went abroad in 1990 for extended periods of study, research, or business assignments. As the government and private corporations have stressed internationalization, greater numbers of individuals have been directly affected, decreasing Japan's historical insularity. By the late 1980s, these problems, particularly the bullying of returnee children in schools, had become a major public issue both in Japan and in Japanese communities abroad.

Immigration[edit]

According to the Japanese immigration centre,[12] the number of foreign residents in Japan has steadily increased, and the number of foreign residents (excluding few illegal immigrants and short-term visitors such as foreign nationals staying less than 90 days in Japan)[24] were more than 2.2 million people in 2008.[12]

In 2010, the number of foreigners in Japan was 2,134,151. There were 209,373 Filipinos many of whom are married to Japanese nationals,[25] 210,032 Brazilians many of whom are of European descent rather than Japanese descent because in the case of a family only one member need have a claim to Japanese ancestry,[26] 687,156 Chinese and 565,989 Koreans. Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Brazilians account for about 69.5% of foreign residents in Japan.[27]

The number naturalizing peaked in 2008 at more than 16000 declining to something over 9000 in the most recent year for which data is available.[28] Most of the decline is accounted for by a steep reduction in the number of Japan-born Koreans taking Japanese citizenship. Historically the bulk of those taking Japanese citizenship have not been foreign born immigrants but rather Japanese-born descendants of Koreans and Taiwan Chinese who lost their citizenship in the Japanese Empire in 1947 as part of American Occupation policy for Japan.

The concept of the ethnic groups by the Japanese statistics is different from the ethnicity census of North American or some Western European statistics. For example, the United Kingdom Census asks ethnic or racial background which composites the population of the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationalities.[29] The Japanese Statistics Bureau, however, does not have this question. Since the Japanese population census asks the people's nationality rather than their ethnic background, naturalized Japanese citizens and Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic background are considered to be ethnically Japanese in the population census of Japan.[12] Thus, although any casual inspection of the population reveals near ethnic homogeneity, it is under one sense possible to describe the population as "multi-ethnic," although any percentage of ethnic minorities is vanishingly small compared with the numbers in the UK, the USA, Canada, and other developed countries.[13][need quotation to verify]

Languages[edit]

The Japanese society of Yamato people is linguistically homogeneous with small populations of Koreans (0.9 million), Chinese/Taiwanese (0.65 million), Filipino (306,000 some being Japanese Filipino; children of Japanese and Filipino parentage).[30] Brazilians (300,000, many of whom are ethnically Japanese) as well as Peruvians and Argentineans of both Latin American and Japanese descent. Japan has indigenous minority groups such as the Ainu and Ryukyuans, who generally speak Japanese.

Japanese citizenship is conferred jus sanguinis, and monolingual Japanese-speaking minorities often reside in Japan for generations under permanent residency status without acquiring citizenship in their country of birth, although legally they are allowed to do so. This is because Japanese law does not recognise dual citizenship, and so people becoming naturalised Japanese citizens must relinquish citizenship of other countries. Some ethnic Koreans and Chinese and their descendants (who may speak only Japanese and may never have even visited the country whose nationality they hold) do not wish to abandon this other citizenship.[citation needed]

In addition, people taking Japanese citizenship must take a name using the Japanese character sets hiragana, katakana, and/or kanji. Names using Western alphabet, Korean characters, Arabic characters, etc. are not acceptable as legal names. Chinese characters are usually legally acceptable as nearly all Chinese characters are recognized as valid by the Japanese government. Phonetic transliterations of non-Japanese names using katakana (e.g. スミス "Sumisu" to mean "Smith") are also legally acceptable.

However, some naturalizing foreigners feel that becoming a Japanese citizen should mean that they have a Japanese name and that they should abandon their foreign name, and some foreign residents do not wish to do this—although most 'special permanent resident' Koreans and Chinese already use Japanese names, so this is not such an important factor. Nonetheless, some 10,000 Zainichi Koreans naturalize every year. Approximately 98.6% of the population is pure Japanese (though technically this figure includes all naturalized people regardless of race) and 99% of the population speak Japanese as their first language. Non-ethnic Japanese in the past, and to an extent in the present, also live in small numbers in the Japanese archipelago.[13]

Society[edit]

Lifestyle[edit]

Japanese people enjoy a high standard of living, and nearly 90% of the population consider themselves part of the middle class. However, many studies on happiness and satisfaction with life tend to find that Japanese people average relatively low levels of life satisfaction and happiness when compared with most of the highly developed world; the levels have remained consistent if not declining slightly over the last half century.[31][32][33][34] Japanese have been surveyed to be relatively lacking in financial satisfaction.[35]

The suicide rates per 100,000 in Japan in 2004 were 36.5 for men and 12.8 for women, the second-highest in the OECD.[36] In 2010 32,000 Japanese committed suicide, which means that on average about 88 Japanese nationals committed suicide per day in 2010.[37]

Minorities[edit]

Hisabetsu Buraku[edit]

Three native Japanese minority groups can be identified. The largest are the hisabetsu buraku or "discriminated communities," also known as the burakumin. These descendants of premodern outcast hereditary occupational groups, such as butchers, leatherworkers, funeral directors, and certain entertainers, may be considered a Japanese analog of India's Dalits. Discrimination against these occupational groups arose historically because of Buddhist prohibitions against killing and Shinto notions of pollution, as well as governmental attempts at social control.

During the Tokugawa period, such people were required to live in special buraku and, like the rest of the population, were bound by sumptuary laws based on the inheritance of social class. The Meiji government abolished most derogatory names applied to these discriminated communities in 1871, but the new laws had little effect on the social discrimination faced by the former outcasts and their descendants. The laws, however, did eliminate the economic monopoly they had over certain occupations. The buraku continue to be treated as social outcasts and some casual interactions with the majority caste was perceived taboo until the era after World War II.

Although members of these discriminated communities are physically indistinguishable from other Japanese, they often live in urban ghettoes or in the traditional special hamlets in rural areas. Some attempt to pass as ordinary Japanese, but the checks on family background that are often part of marriage arrangements and employment applications make this difficult. Estimates of their number range from 2 million to 4 million, or about 2% to 3% of the national population.

Non-Burakumin Japanese claimed that membership in these discriminated communities can be surmised from the location of the family home, occupation, dialect, or mannerisms and, despite legal equality, continued to discriminate against people they surmised to be members of this group. Past and current discrimination has resulted in lower educational attainment and socioeconomic status among hisabetsu buraku than among the majority of Japanese. Movements with objectives ranging from "liberation" to encouraging integration have tried to change this situation.

Ryukyuans[edit]

The second largest minority group among Japanese citizens is the Ryukyuan people.[when?][citation needed] They are primarily distinguished from their use of several distinct Ryukyuan languages though use of Ryukyuan is dying out. The Ryukyuan people and language originated in the Ryukyu Islands, which are in Okinawa prefecture. Though similar to Japanese culture in many ways, the Ryukyuan culture has had a much larger influence from China than other parts of Japan, due to its geographical position in relation to the east coast of China and the island of Taiwan.[citation needed]

Ainu[edit]

The third largest minority group among Japanese citizens is the Ainu whose language is an isolate. Historically, the Ainu were an indigenous hunting and gathering population who occupied most of northern Honshū as late as the Nara period (A.D. 710–94). As Japanese settlement expanded, the Ainu were pushed northward, by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Ainu were pushed into the island of Hokkaido.[38]

Characterized as remnants of a primitive circumpolar culture, the fewer than 20,000 Ainu in 1990 were considered racially distinct and thus not fully Japanese. Disease and a low birth rate had severely diminished their numbers over the past two centuries, and intermarriage had brought about an almost completely mixed population.

Although no longer in daily use, the Ainu language is preserved in epics, songs, and stories transmitted orally over succeeding generations. Distinctive rhythmic music and dances and some Ainu festivals and crafts are preserved, but mainly in order to take advantage of tourism.

Foreign residents[edit]

Transition of Numbers of Registered Foreigners in Japan from 5 Major Countries
Age and Sex Distribution of Major Foreigners in Japan.
Country 2012[39] 2011 2010 2005 2000 1990 Main Articles
ChinaChina(TaiwanTaiwan) 652,555[40] 674,879 687,156 519,561 335,575 137,499 Chinese people in Japan
South KoreaNorth Korea(Korean) 530,046 545,401 565,989 598,687 635,269 681,838 Koreans in Japan
 Philippines 209,974 209,376 210,181 187,261 144,871 38,925 Filipinos in Japan
 Brazil 190,581 210,032 230,552 302,080 254,394 14,258 Brazilians in Japan
 Vietnam 52,364 44,690 41,781 28,932 16,908 6,316 Vietnamese people in Japan
 United States 48,357 49,815 50,667 49,390 44,856 34,900 Americans in Japan
 Thailand 40,130 42,750 41,279 37,703 29,289 5,542 Thais in Japan
 Indonesia 25,530 24,660 24,895 25,097 19,346 2,781 Indonesians in Japan
   Nepal 24,069 20,383 17,525 6,953 3,649 399 Nepalis in Japan
TaiwanTaiwan 22,773 Taiwanese People in Japan
 India 21,653 21,501 22,497 16,988 10,064 2,926 Indians in Japan
 United Kingdom 14,652 15,496 16,044 17,494 16,525 9,272 British People in Japan
 Pakistan 10,597 10,849 10,299 8,789 7,498 1,875 Pakistanis in Japan
 Canada 9,006 9,484 9,995 12,022 10,088 4,172
 Australia 8,888 9,166 9,756 11,277 9,188 3,073 Australians in Japan
 Bangladesh 8,622 9,413 10,175 11,015 7,176 2,205 Bangladeshis in Japan
 France 8,455 8,423 9,060 7,337 5,371 2,881 French people in Japan
 Sri Lanka 8,427 9,303 9,097 9,013 5,655 1,064
 Burma 8,045 8,692 8,577 5,342 4,851 894 Burmese people in Japan
 Malaysia 7,848 8,136 8,364 7,910 8,386 4,309
 Russia 7,295 7,566 7,814 7,110 4,893 340[41] Russians in Japan
 Bolivia 5,283 5,567 5,720 6,139 3,915 238
 Germany 5,223 5,303 5,971 5,356 4,295 3,410 Germans in Japan
 Mongolia 4,837 4,774 4,949 3,762 1,209 23 Mongolians in Japan
 Iran 3,996 4,725 4,841 5,227 6,167 988 Iranians in Japan
 New Zealand 3,109 3,146 3,250 3,824 3,264 967
 Cambodia 2,862 2,770 2,683 2,263 1,761 1,148
 Argentina 2,722 2,970 3,181 3,834 3,072 1,704
 Italy 2,629 2,642 2,731 2,083 1,579 890
 Turkey 2,528 2,613 2,547 2,275 1,424 190 Turks in JapanKurds in Japan
 Laos 2,521 2,584 2,639 2,393 1,677 864
 Nigeria 2,377 2,730 2,729 2,389 1,741 140 Nigerians in Japan
 Colombia 2,253 2,505 2,606 2,902 2,496 373
 Romania 2,185 2,281 2,409 3,574 2,449 34 Romanians in Japan
 Singapore 2,135 2,440 2,512 2,283 1,940 1,042
Total Foreign Residents 2,033,656 2,078,508 2,134,151 2,011,555 1,686,444 984,455

In 2005, there were 1,555,505 foreign residents permanently residing in Japan, representing 1.22% of the Japanese population.[42] Foreign Army personnel, of which there have been up 430,000 from the US and 40,000 BCOF in the immediate post-war years, are not included in the Japanese statistics of foreigners, nor is such personnel subject to local immigration controls. Particularly the US bases and the culture transmitted through them had a significant influence on Japanese fashions.[43]

Most Koreans in Japan today have never been to the Korean Peninsula and do not speak Korean. A significant portion of these foreign residents are the descendants of Illegal immigration of Koreans,[44] a limited number of whom hold a special residence status, granted under the terms of the Normalisation Treaty (22. June 1965) between South Korea and Japan.[45] In many cases special residents, despite being born in Japan and only speaking Japanese, have chosen not to take advantage of Japan's mostly automatic granting of citizenship to special resident applicants.[46]

Beginning in 1947 the Japanese government started a deport those illegal Korean aliens, who were Japanese subjects. In particular, refugees from the massacres conducted by the Korean forces in what is termed the Jeju Uprising, were treated as "smugglers" and frequently forcibly returned to Korea. When the Treaty of San Francisco came into force all ethnic Koreans lost their Japanese citizenship and with it the right to welfare grants, to hold a government job of any kind or to attend Japanese schools.[43] In the following year the government contrived, with the help of the Red Cross, a scheme to "repatriate" Korean residents, who mainly were from the Southern Provinces, to their "home" of North Korea.[47] Between 1959 and 1984 93,430 people used this route. 6,737 were Japanese or Chinese dependents. Most of these departures - 78,276 - occurred before 1962.[48]

Foreigners in Japan in 2000 by citizenship.
Source:Japan Statistics Bureau[49]

All non-Japanese without special residential status (people whose residential roots go back to before WWII) are required by law to register with the government and carry alien registration cards. From the early 1980s, a civil disobedience movement encouraged refusal of the fingerprinting that accompanied registration every five years.

Opponents of fingerprinting argued that it was discriminatory because the only Japanese who were fingerprinted were criminals. The courts upheld fingerprinting, but the law was changed so that fingerprinting was done once rather than with each renewal of the registration, which until a law reform in 1989 was usually required every six months for anybody from the age of 16. Those refusing fingerprinting were denied re-entry permits, thus depriving them from freedom of movement.

A large number of foreigners left Japan in 2011 during the Fukushima nuclear incident.[citation needed]

Koseki[edit]

Japanese citizens are recorded in koseki (family registry) and jūminhyō (resident registry) systems, while foreign residents are only recorded in a separate alien registration system. From July 2012 a new registration system will be enacted: all residents (both Japanese and resident foreigners) will be recorded by municipal offices in the jūminhyō system.[50] The Japanese family register system will continue for Japanese citizens, whilst foreigners will be recorded in a separate residency management system administered by immigration offices which will combine previous immigration status and local alien registration systems.

Foreigner-reporting website and hotline[edit]

The Japanese Ministry of Justice maintains a website and hotline (English reference) for "receiving report on [sic] illegal stay foreigner." The criteria for reporting include "feeling anxious about a foreigner", and anonymous submissions are permitted. Japanese immigration authorities work in unison with police to investigate those reported, and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have argued that those reported do not receive proper legal protection.

The Daiyo Kangoku system allows police to detain suspects without charges, access to legal counsel or telephone calls for up to 23 days. In October 2006, the foreigner reporting hotline's operating hours were extended to include Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.

Fingerprinting foreigners when entering Japan[edit]

As of November 20, 2007, all foreigners entering Japan must be biometrically registered (photograph and fingerprints) on arrival; this includes people living in Japan on visas as well as permanent residents, but excludes people with special permanent resident permission, diplomats, and those under 16.[51][52]

Religion[edit]

Shintō and Buddhism are Japan's two major religions. They have co-existed for several centuries. Most Japanese people generally do not exclusively identify themselves as adherents of only one religion, but rather incorporate various elements in a syncretic fashion.[53] There are small Christian and Muslim minorities.

Businesses[edit]

Businesses for adults are growing inline with old population, such as diapers for adults. In 2012, the yearly sales of Unicharm adult diapers slightly surpassed those for babies.[54]

See also[edit]

Historical:

References[edit]

  1. ^ See links to the Census and the monthly Population Estimate through the Japan Statistical Agency homepage.
  2. ^ Statistics on the total population in Japan, International Monetary Fund. April 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  3. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Rank Order - Life expectancy at birth
  4. ^ Japan Statistical Agency monthly Population Estimate.
  5. ^ "Japan population to shrink by one-third by 2060". BBC News. January 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Japan’s Population Falls by Record in 2012 as Births Decrease". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Japan's population falls by record 244,000 in 2013". January 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ Hashimoto, Ryutaro (attributed). General Principles Concerning Measures for the Aging Society. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 2011-3-5.
  9. ^ McCurry, Justin (17 April 2007). "Japan's age-old problem". The Guardian (UK) (London). Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  10. ^ [1] Population by Age Group and Indices of Age Structure(Excel:29KB)
  11. ^ CIA Factbook: Japan
  12. ^ a b c d "平成20年末現在における外国人登録者統計について(Number of Foreign residents in Japan)". Moj.go.jp. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  13. ^ a b c John Lie, Multiethnic Japan (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001) ISBN 0-674-01358-1
  14. ^ Love in 2- // The New York Times, July 21, 2009
  15. ^ B.R. Mitchell. International historical statistics: Africa. Asia & Oceania 1750-2000.
  16. ^ [2] United nations. Demographic Yearbooks 1948-2010
  17. ^ [3] Japan Monthly Statistics
  18. ^ [4] table 2-25 Standardized Vital Rates and Reproduction Rates
  19. ^ [5] table 2-7 Trends of Life Expectancies by Age
  20. ^ http://www.japantoday.com/search?q=japan+fertility+2010
  21. ^ Daily News (New York) http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/japanese-women-icelandic-men-live-longest-article-1.1408778 |url= missing title (help). 
  22. ^ Japan's birthdate drops to 1.03 million, number of deaths keep increasing
  23. ^ http://www.ipss.go.jp/webj-ad/webjournal.files/population/2011_Vol.9/Web%20Journal_Vol.9_01.pdf
  24. ^ Japan Immigration,Alien Registration,One-Stop Solution for Corporates and individuals for Immigration procedures
  25. ^ "平成23年末現在における外国人登録者統計について 法務省". Japan: Ministry of Justice. February 22, 2012. 
  26. ^ 平成23年末現在における外国人登録者統計について 法務省, Japan: Ministry of Justice, February 2012, retrieved 2012-02-22 
  27. ^ http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/no-of-foreign-residents-in-japan-falls-for-2nd-straight-year-in-2010
  28. ^ 帰化許可申請者数等の推移
  29. ^ "United Kingdom population by ethnic group". United Kingdom Census 2001. Office for National Statistics. 2001-04-01. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  30. ^ Embassy taps help of Pinoy groups in Japan. Japan. March 12, 2011. 
  31. ^ Ranks of Happiness in Nations in the 1990s
  32. ^ nation
  33. ^ NationMaster - Life satisfaction (most recent) by country
  34. ^ A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being: A Challenge to Positive Psychology?
  35. ^ NationMaster - Financial satisfaction (most recent) by country
  36. ^ Mental Health, WHO 2003
  37. ^ BBC News: Suicides cost Japan economy $32bn
  38. ^ Shinichiro, Takakura (1960). The Ainu of Northern Japan: A Study in Conquest and Acculturation. Independence Square: The American Philosophical Society. pp. 24–25. 
  39. ^ 在留外国人統計(旧登録外国人統計)統計表 法務省 Number of Registered Foreign Residents The Ministry of Justice, Japan
  40. ^ excluding Taiwan
  41. ^ Soviet Union
  42. ^ Statistical Data in Japan
  43. ^ a b Morris-Suzuki, Tessa; Borderline Japan: foreigners and frontier controls in the post-war era; Cambridge 2010; ISBN 978-0-521-86460-2, Ch. 1: "Border Politics," Ch. 8: "A point of no return"
  44. ^ 23 Session of the National Diet, Committee on judicial affairs [6]
  45. ^ Morris-Suzuki (2010), p. 230
  46. ^ HAN: "Koreans in Japan: Past and Present"
  47. ^ Agreement signed in Calcutta, brokered by the ICRC. Morris-Suzuki (2010), p. 208
  48. ^ detailed in: Morris-Suzuki, Tessa; Exodus to North Korea: shadows from Japan's cold war; Lanham, Md. 2006; ISBN 978-0-7425-5441-2
  49. ^ Japan Statistics Bureau, accessed 8 December 2007
  50. ^ "Start of new residency management system". March 2012. 
  51. ^ Chris Hogg Japan ups checks for foreigners, BBC News, 20 November 2007.
  52. ^ The Immigration Bureau introduced new immigration procedures on November 20th, 2007., Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice (Japan).
  53. ^ Edwin O. Reischauer The Japanese Today: Change and Continuity; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1988), pg. 215.
  54. ^ "Japanese nation to go extinct in 1,000 years". May 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]