Demographics of Japan
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.
Based on the census from October 2010, Japan's population was at one of its peaks – 128,057,352. As of March 2012 the population estimate was 127,650,000 making it the world's tenth-most populous country at the time. However, both the United Nations Population Division and the Population Reference Bureau estimated that Mexico overtook Japan in terms of population by mid-2015. Current statistics do not indicate much difference in population numbers. 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 immigration, despite having one of the highest life expectancies in the world at 81.25 years of age as of 2006. 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. Japan's population density was 336 people per square kilometer.
Based on the latest data from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 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 86 million in 2060. By that time, more than 40% of the population is expected to be over age 65. In 2012, the population had for six consecutive years declined by 212,000, the largest drop on record since 1947 and also a record low of 1.03 million births. In 2014, a new record of population drop happened with 268,000 people. In 2013, more than 20 percent of the population are age 65 and over.
The population ranking of Japan dropped from 7th to 8th in 1990, to 9th in 1998, and to 10th since new milennium. In 2015 it dropped further to 11th place, according both to UN and PRB.
- 1 Population
- 2 Demographic statistics from the CIA World Factbook
- 3 Vital statistics
- 4 Migration
- 5 Languages
- 6 Society
- 7 Religion
- 8 Businesses
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Japan's population density is 336 people per square kilometer according to the UN World Populations Prospects 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.
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.
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.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
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 its population of 35 million residents, is the world's most populous city. Japan faces the same problems that confront urban industrialized societies throughout the world: overcrowded cities and congested highways.
Aging of Japan
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. 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.
(census; in thousands)
|Population by age (%)|
Demographic statistics from the CIA World Factbook
Population in 5 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)
- 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
- 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
adult prevalence rate
- less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
people living with HIV/AIDS
- 9,600 (2007 est.)
- 12,000 (2003 est.)
- fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
- 500 (2003 est.)
98.5% Japanese citizens and 1.5% foreign citizens. The Japanese Census asks respondents their nationality rather than identify people by ethnic groups as do other countries. For example, the United Kingdom Census asks ethnic or racial background which composites the population of the United Kingdom, regardless of their nationalities. Naturalized Japanese citizens and native-born Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic background are considered to be ethnically Japanese in the population census of Japan.
Thus, in spite of the widespread belief that Japan is ethnically homogeneous, at least one academic recommends description of it as a multiethnic society. Internal to Japan, a distinction between "Polynesian-type" (i.e., with darker skin and round eyes) Jomon and "continental-type" (i.e., lighter skin and narrow eyes) 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.
More than 2.5 million (potentially higher because of undocumented migrants) foreigners live in Japan; the number has grown 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 nationals.
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 Japanese-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 be described as "predominantly Chinese".
- Over 15: Never married Male 61.8%, Female 58.2%.
- 16–24: 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
According to a government survey, more than a quarter of unmarried men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins. Fifty percent of men and women in Japan said they were not "going out with anyone".
|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||Infant mortality rate (per 1000 births)||Life expectancy (males)||Life expectancy (females)|
|1900||43 847||1470 000||916 000||554 000||31.7||20.4||12.6||6.25||155.0|
|1901||44 359||1557 000||931 000||626 000||33.1||20.4||14.1||6.21||149.9|
|1902||44 964||1570 000||965 000||605 000||32.9||20.9||13.5||6.16||154.0|
|1903||45 546||1552 000||936 000||616 000||32.0||20.0||13.5||6.09||152.4|
|1904||46 135||1500 000||1005 000||495 000||30.6||21.2||10.7||6.04||151.9|
|1905||46 620||1517 000||1047 000||470 000||30.6||21.9||10.1||5.97||151.7|
|1906||47 038||1461 000||962 000||499 000||29.0||20.0||10.6||5.69||153.6|
|1907||47 416||1685 000||1025 000||660 000||33.2||21.0||13.9||5.72||151.3|
|1908||47 965||1734 000||1037 000||697 000||33.7||20.9||14.5||5.79||158.0|
|1909||48 554||1766 000||1098 000||668 000||33.9||21.9||13.8||5.71||167.3|
|1910||49 184||1782 000||1071 000||711 000||33.9||21.1||14.5||5.63||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||3.25|
|1946||75 300||1905 809||1326 592||579 217||25.3||17.6||7.7||4.46|
|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||2.05||28.6||66.03||70.79|
|1962||95 832||1639 631||715 163||924 468||17.1||7.5||9.6||2.01||26.4||66.23||71.16|
|1963||96 812||1681 242||675 721||1005 521||17.4||7.0||10.4||2.02||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||2.02||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||2.14||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||2.3||79.64||86.39|
|2011||127 770||1050 806||1253 066||-202 260||8.3||9.8||-1.5||1.39||2.3||79.44||85.90|
|2012||127 400||1037 101||1256 254||-219 153||8.2||9.9||-1.7||1.41||2.2||79.94||86.41|
|2013||127 150||1030 000||1268 000||-244 000||8.1||10.0||-1.9||1.43||2.1||80.21||86.61|
|2014||127 083||1001 000||1269 000||-268 000||7.9||10.0||-2.1||1.42||80.5||86.9|
2012 (and 2011) update:
Total fertility rate
Japan's total fertility rate (TFR) in 2012 was estimated at 1.41 children per woman, increasing slightly from 1.32 in the 2001–05 period. In 2012, the highest TFR was 1.90, in Okinawa, and the lowest was 1.09, in Tokyo. TFR by prefecture for 2000–05, as well as future estimates, have been released.:page 30
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.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008)|
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.
According to the Japanese immigration centre, the number of foreign residents in Japan has steadily increased, and the number of foreign residents (excluding a small number of illegal immigrants and short-term visitors, such as foreign nationals staying less than 90 days in Japan), exceeded 2.2 million people in 2008.
In 2010, the number of foreigners in Japan was 2,134,151. This includes 209,373 Filipinos, many of whom are married to Japanese nationals, 210,032 Brazilians, the majority possessing some degree of Japanese ancestry, 687,156 Chinese and 565,989 Koreans. Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Brazilians account for about 69.5% of foreign residents in Japan.
The number of naturalizations peaked in 2008 at 16,000, declining to over 9,000 in the most recent year for which data are available. 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 Taiwanese who lost their citizenship in the Japanese Empire in 1947 as part of the American Occupation policy for Japan.
The concept of ethnic group as used by the Japanese statistical authorities differs from that used in ethnicity surveys in North America and certain Western European countries. For example, the UK Census asks for "ethnic or racial background", regardless of each person’s nationality. The Japanese Statistics Bureau, however, does not ask this question. Since the Japanese population census asks about people’s nationality rather than their ethnic background, naturalized Japanese citizens and Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic backgrounds are considered to be ethnically Japanese in the population census of Japan. Thus, although a casual inspection of the population reveals near homogeneity, it is in one sense possible to describe the population as “multi-ethnic”, although any percentage of ethnic minorities is small compared with the numbers in the UK, the United States, Canada, and most other developed countries.[need quotation to verify]
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). 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.
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. Transliterations of non-Japanese names using katakana (e.g. スミス "Sumisu" for "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.
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. Japanese have been surveyed to be relatively lacking in financial satisfaction.
The suicide rates per 100,000 in Japan in 2009 were 29.2 for men and 10.5 for women, the third-highest in the OECD. In 2010, 32,000 Japanese committed suicide, which translates to an average of 88 Japanese suicides a day in 2010.
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 to 4 million (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.
The second largest minority group among Japanese citizens is the Ryukyuan people.[when?] 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.
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.
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.
|China||654,777||652,555||674,879||687,156||519,561||335,575||137,499||Chinese people in Japan|
|Korea||501,230||530,046||545,401||565,989||598,687||635,269||681,838||Koreans in Japan|
|Philippines||217,585||209,974||209,376||210,181||187,261||144,871||38,925||Filipinos in Japan|
|Brazil||175,410||190,581||210,032||230,552||302,080||254,394||14,258||Brazilians in Japan|
|Vietnam||99,865||52,364||44,690||41,781||28,932||16,908||6,316||Vietnamese people in Japan|
|United States||51,256||48,357||49,815||50,667||49,390||44,856||34,900||Americans in Japan|
|Peru||47,978||49,248||52,842||54,636||57,728||46,171||4,121||Peruvian migration to Japan|
|Thailand||43,081||40,130||42,750||41,279||37,703||29,289||5,542||Thais in Japan|
|Nepal||36,107||24,069||20,383||17,525||6,953||3,649||399||Nepalis in Japan|
|Taiwan||40,197||22,773||Taiwanese People in Japan|
|Indonesia||30,210||25,530||24,660||24,895||25,097||19,346||2,781||Indonesians in Japan|
|India||24,524||21,653||21,501||22,497||16,988||10,064||2,926||Indians in Japan|
|United Kingdom||15,262||14,652||15,496||16,044||17,494||16,525||9,272||British People in Japan|
|Pakistan||11,802||10,597||10,849||10,299||8,789||7,498||1,875||Pakistanis in Japan|
|Myanmar||10,252||8,045||8,692||8,577||5,342||4,851||894||Burmese people in Japan|
|Bangladesh||9,641||8,622||9,413||10,175||11,015||7,176||2,205||Bangladeshis in Japan|
|France||9,641||8,455||8,423||9,060||7,337||5,371||2,881||French people in Japan|
|Australia||9,350||8,888||9,166||9,756||11,277||9,188||3,073||Australians in Japan|
|Russia||7,859||7,295||7,566||7,814||7,110||4,893||340||Russians in Japan|
|Germany||5,864||5,223||5,303||5,971||5,356||4,295||3,410||Germans in Japan|
|Mongolia||5,796||4,837||4,774||4,949||3,762||1,209||23||Mongolians in Japan|
|Iran||3,976||3,996||4,725||4,841||5,227||6,167||988||Iranians in Japan|
|Turkey||3,654||2,528||2,613||2,547||2,275||1,424||190||Turks in Japan・Kurds in Japan|
|Nigeria||2,518||2,377||2,730||2,729||2,389||1,741||140||Nigerians in Japan|
|Romania||2,245||2,185||2,281||2,409||3,574||2,449||34||Romanians in Japan|
|Afghanistan||2,154||1,609||1,355||1,148||593||430||Afghans in Japan|
|Total Foreign Residents||2,121,831||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. 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.
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, 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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
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
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.
- Immigration Control 2006, the Immigration Bureau, the Ministry of Justice (Japan), 2006.
- 平成１９年版「出入国管理」の発刊について (Publication of Immigration Control 2007), 法務省入国管理局, 2007-9-21.
Shintō and Buddhism are Japan's two major religions. They have co-existed for more than a thousand years. Most Japanese people generally do not exclusively identify themselves as adherents of only one religion, but rather incorporate various elements in a syncretic fashion. There are small Christian and Other minorities as well, with the Christian population dating to as early as the 1500s, as a result of European missionary work before Sakoku was implemented from 1635-1853.
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.
- Ethnic issues in Japan
- Elderly people in Japan
- Japanese people
- Aging of Japan
- Suicide in Japan
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Demographics of Japan.|
- Japan Population Census 2010
- Expatriates in Japan
- The Dilemma Posed by Japan's Population Decline, discussion paper by Julian Chapple in the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, 18 October 2004.
- The Exodus to North Korea Museum (commemorates the story of the 93,340 people who migrated from Japan to North Korea in the period 1959-1984)
- Another Tsunami Warning: Caring for Japan’s Elderly, Brief on what the future of Japan looks like for an increasingly aging population, and if this demographic transition is limited to Japan alone.
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