Demographics of Japan

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Demographics of Japan
Japan Population Pyramid.svg
Population124,830,000[1] (11th)
Growth rate-0.7% (2020 est.)
Birth rate6.5 births/1,000 population
Death rate11.5 deaths/1,000 population
Life expectancy84.83 years
 • male81.92 years
 • female87.9 years
Fertility rate1.30 children
Infant mortality rate1.9 deaths/1,000 live births
Net migration rate0.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population
Sex ratio
Total0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
At birth1.06 male(s)/female
Nationality
NationalityJapanese
Major ethnicJapanese
Japanese birth and death rates since 1950. The drop in 1966 was due to it being a "hinoe uma" year which is viewed as a bad omen by the Japanese Zodiac.[2]
Historical population 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.

Population[edit]

Historical population[edit]

Japan demographic transition 1888–2019
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1920 55,963,053—    
1925 59,736,822+6.7%
1930 64,450,005+7.9%
1935 69,254,148+7.5%
1940 73,114,308+5.6%
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%
2015 127,094,745−0.8%
2020 126,226,568−0.7%

According to the Statistical Bureau of Japan, the population of Japan as of May 2022 is at 125.05 million, including foreign residents. The population of Japanese nationals only was 123.8 million in January 2021.[3]

As of 2017, Japan was the world's eleventh-most populous country. The total population had declined by 0.8 percent from the time of the census five years previously, the first time it had declined since the 1945 census.[4]

Since 2010, Japan has experienced net population loss due to falling birth rates and minimal immigration, despite having one of the highest life expectancies in the world, at 85.00 years as of 2016 (it stood at 81.25 as of 2006).[5] Using the annual estimate for October of each year, the population peaked in 2008 at 128,083,960 and had fallen by 2,983,352 by October 2021.[6]

Based on 2012 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 would leave it with a population of around 70 million by 2060 and 42 million by early 22nd century if the current projections do not change.[7] More than 40% of the population is expected to be over the age of 65 in 2060.[8] In 2021 the population had for fifteen consecutive years declined by 644,000 on this year, the largest drop on record since 1945 and also reflecting a record low of 831,000 births. As of 2013 more than 20 percent of the population of Japan were aged 65 and over.[9]

The population consisted of 47,062,743 households, with 78.7% in urban areas (July 2000). High population density; 329.5 people per square kilometer for total area; 1,523 persons per square kilometer for habitable land. More than 50% of the population lives on 2% of the land. (July 1993).[10] According to research in 2009, the population to land density ratio has gradually increased, now at 127 million per 337 km2. Compared to the findings of July 1993 as well as in July 2000, the population density has greatly increased, from 50% of the population living on 2% of the land to 77%. However, as the years have progressed since the last recordings of the population, Japan’s population has decreased, raising concern about the future of Japan. There are many causes, such as the declining birthrates, as well as the ratio of men to women since the last measurements from the years of 2006 and 2010. According to the Japanese Health Ministry, the population is estimated to drop from its current state of 125.58 million to 86.74 million by the year 2060.[11]

Japan dropped from the 7th most populous country in the world to 8th in 1990, to 9th in 1998, to 10th in the early 21st century, and to 11th in 2020.[12][13] Over the period of 2010 to 2015, the population shrank by almost a million.[14]

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

Census[edit]

Japan collects census information every five years, with censuses conducted by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The latest population census reflects the situation as of 2020.

Population density[edit]

Japan's population density was 336 people per square kilometer as of 2014 (874 people per square mile) according to World Development Indicators. It ranks 35th in a list of countries by population density. Between 1955 and 1989, land prices in the six largest cities increased by 15,000% (+12% per year compound). 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.[10]

The result was lengthy commutes for many workers in the big cities, especially in the Tokyo area where daily commutes of two hours each way are common.[10] In 1991, as the bubble economy started to collapse, land prices began a steep decline, and within a few years fell 60% below their peak.[15] After a decade of declining land prices, residents began moving back into central city areas (especially Tokyo's 23 wards), as evidenced by 2005 census figures. Despite nearly 70% of Japan being covered by forests,[16] parks in many major cities—especially Tokyo and Osaka—are smaller and scarcer than in major West European or North American cities. As of 2014, parkland per inhabitant in Tokyo is 5.78 square meters,[17] which is roughly half of the 11.5 square meters of Madrid.[18]

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 to try to decentralize settlement and improve the quality of life. Nevertheless, major cities, especially Tokyo, Yokohama and Fukuoka, and to a lesser extent Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya, remain attractive to young people seeking education and jobs.[10]

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to take urgent steps to tackle the country's declining birth rate, calling it "now or never" for Japan's aging society, and plans to double the budget for child-related policies by June and set up a new government agency in April.[19]

Urban distribution[edit]

Distribution of Population[20] by Regions (Blue shades) and Prefectures (Red: Most populous, Green: Less)
KANTO, KEIHANSHIN and TOKAI are three largest metropolitan areas which have about 2/3 of total population of Japan. Out of 47 prefectures, 13 are red and 34 are green.
The population of Japan has been decreasing since 2011. Only 8 prefectures had increased its population compared to 2010, due to internal migration to large cities.
External images
Views of the World
image icon Japan Gridded Population Cartogram
image icon Japan Gridded Population

Japan has a high population concentration in urban areas on the plains since 75% of Japan’s land area is made up of mountains,[21] and also Japan has a forest cover rate of 68.5% (the only other developed countries with such a high forest cover percentage are Finland and Sweden).[16] The 2010 census shows 90.7% of the total Japanese population live in cities.[22]

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 Honshu.[23]

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.

Age structure[edit]

Japan's population is aging faster than that of any other nation.[24] The population of those 65 years or older roughly doubled in 24 years, from 7.1% of the population in 1970 to 14.1% in 1994. The same increase took 61 years in Italy, 85 years in Sweden, and 115 years in France.[25] In 2014, 26% of Japan's population was estimated to be 65 years or older,[26] and the Health and Welfare Ministry has estimated that over-65s will account for 40% of the population by 2060.[27] The demographic shift in Japan's age profile has triggered concerns about the nation's economic future and the viability of its welfare state.[28]

Overview of the changing age distribution 1935–2020[26]
Year Total population
(census; in thousands)
Population by age (%)
0–14 15–64 65+
1935 69,254 36.9 58.5 4.7
1940 73,114 36.1 59.2 5.7
1945 71,998 36.8 58.1 5.1
1950 83,199 35.4 59.6 4.9
1955 89,275 33.4 61.2 5.3
1960 93,418 30.2 64.1 5.7
1965 98,274 25.7 68.0 6.3
1970 103,720 24.0 68.9 7.1
1975 111,939 24.3 67.7 7.9
1980 117,060 23.5 67.3 9.1
1985 121,048 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 126,925 14.6 67.9 17.3
2005 127,767 13.7 65.8 20.1
2010 128,057 13.2 63.7 23.1
2015 127,094 12.6 60.7 26.6
2020 126,226 12.0 59.3 28.8
Population Estimates by Sex and Age Group (01.VII.2020): [29]
Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 61 226 000 64 610 000 125 836 000 100
0–4 2 406 000 2 288 000 4 694 000 3.73
5–9 2 580 000 2 462 000 5 042 000 4.01
10–14 2 736 000 2 605 000 5 341 000 4.24
15–19 2 932 000 2 792 000 5 724 000 4.55
20–24 3 298 000 3 089 000 6 386 000 5.07
25–29 3 240 000 3 036 000 6 275 000 4.99
30–34 3 391 000 3 244 000 6 635 000 5.27
35–39 3 767 000 3 665 000 7 432 000 5.91
40–44 4 289 000 4 183 000 8 472 000 6.73
45–49 4 954 000 4 847 000 9 801 000 7.79
50–54 4 353 000 4 305 000 8 658 000 6.88
55–59 3 905 000 3 913 000 7 818 000 6.21
60–64 3 674 000 3 770 000 7 443 000 5.91
65–69 4 047 000 4 305 000 8 351 000 6.64
70–74 4 288 000 4 798 000 9 086 000 7.22
75–79 3 193 000 3 953 000 7 145 000 5.68
80–84 2 239 000 3 159 000 5 398 000 4.29
85–89 1 323 000 2 394 000 3 717 000 2.95
90–94 506 000 1 316 000 1 822 000 1.45
95–99 97 000 421 000 519 000 0.41
100+ 10 000 66 000 76 000 0.06
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0–14 7 722 000 7 355 000 15 077 000 11.98
15–64 37 801 000 36 843 000 74 644 000 59.32
65+ 15 703 000 20 412 000 36 115 000 28.70

Life expectancy[edit]

Sources: Our World In Data and the United Nations.

1865–1949

Years 1865 1870 1875 1880 1885 1890 1895 1900 1905 1910 1915 1920 1922 1927 1935 1945 1947 1948 1949 1950[30]
Life expectancy in Japan 36.4 36.6 36.8 37.0 37.3 37.7 38.1 38.6 39.2 40.0 40.9 42.0 42.6 45.7 48.2 30.5 51.7 56.8 57.7 59.2

1950–2015

Life expectancy in Japan since 1865
Life expectancy in Japan since 1960 by gender
Period Life expectancy in
Years
Period Life expectancy in
Years
1950–1955 62.8 1985–1990 78.5
1955–1960 66.4 1990–1995 79.4
1960–1965 69.2 1995–2000 80.5
1965–1970 71.4 2000–2005 81.8
1970–1975 73.3 2005–2010 82.7
1975–1980 75.4 2010–2015 83.3
1980–1985 77.0 2015–2020 84.4

Source: UN World Population Prospects

Fertility[edit]

Number of births by age groups in Japan
Map of East Asia by total fertility rate (TFR) in 2021.

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.[31]

TFR of Japan overtime to 2016
The percentage of births to unmarried women in selected countries, 1980 and 2007.[32] As can be seen in the figure, Japan has not followed the trend of other industrialised countries of children born outside of marriage to the same degree.

Sex ratio[edit]

Age
group
2006 2020
At birth 1.05 1.06
0–15 1.05 1.06
15–64 1.01 1.01
65+ 0.73 0.78
Total 0.95 0.94

Vital statistics[edit]

Live births, birth and death rates, overall fertility rate, and net change in Japan from 1899 to present.[33][34][35]

Year Average
population
Live births Deaths Natural
change
Crude rates (per 1000) Total
fertility
rate[26][36]
Net change Infant
mortality
rate
(per 1000
births)
Life expectancy[26]
Births Deaths Natural
change
Males Females
1899 43,400,000 1,386,981 932,087 454,894 32.0 21.5 10.5 4.73 153.8
1900 43,847,000 1,420,534 910,744 509,790 32.4 20.8 11.6 4.69 447,000 155.0
1901 44,359,000 1,501,591 925,810 575,781 33.9 20.9 13.0 5.01 512,000 149.9
1902 44,964,000 1,510,853 959,126 551,709 33.6 21.3 12.3 4.97 605,000 154.0
1903 45,546,000 1,489,816 931,008 558,808 32.0 20.0 13.5 4.83 582,000 152.4
1904 46,135,000 1,440,371 955,400 484,971 30.6 21.2 10.7 4.61 589,000 151.9
1905 46,620,000 1,452,770 1,004,661 448,109 30.6 21.9 10.1 4.52 485,000 4 151.7
1906 47,038,000 1,394,295 955,256 439,039 29.0 20.0 10.6 4.38 418,000 153.6
1907 47,416,000 1,614,472 1,016,798 597,674 33.2 21.0 13.9 5.03 378,000 151.3
1908 47,965,000 1,662,815 1,029,447 633,368 33.7 20.9 14.5 5.13 549,000 158.0
1909 48,554,000 1,693,850 1,091,264 602,586 33.9 21.9 13.8 5.16 589,000 167.3
1910 49,184,000 1,712,857 1,064,234 648,623 33.9 21.1 14.5 5.01 630,000 161.2
1911 49,852,000 1,747,803 1,043,906 703,897 34.1 20.4 15.5 5.19 668,000 158.4
1912 50,577,000 1,737,674 1,037,016 700,658 33.4 20.0 15.3 5.08 725,000 154.2
1913 51,305,000 1,757,441 1,027,257 730,184 33.3 19.5 15.6 5.07 728,000 152.1
1914 52,039,000 1,808,402 1,101,815 706,587 33.8 20.6 14.9 5.14 734,000 158.5
1915 52,752,000 1,799,326 1,093,793 705,533 33.2 20.2 14.4 4.91 713,000 160.4
1916 53,496,000 1,804,822 1,187,832 616,990 32.9 21.6 12.7 4.98 744,000 170.3
1917 54,134,000 1,812,413 1,199,669 612,744 32.7 21.6 12.5 4.95 738,000 173.2
1918 54,739,000 1,791,992 1,493,162 298,830 32.2 26.7 6.4 4.83 605,000 188.6
1919 55,033,000 1,778,685 1,281,965 496,720 31.6 22.8 10.2 4.77 294,000 170.5
1920 55,963,053 2,025,564 1,422,096 603,468 36.2 25.4 12.0 5.35 930,053 9 165.7
1921 56,666,000 1,990,876 1,288,570 702,306 35.1 22.7 12.4 5.22 702,947 168.3
1922 57,390,000 1,969,314 1,286,941 682,373 34.3 22.4 11.9 5.12 724,000 166.4
1923 58,119,000 2,043,297 1,332,485 710,812 35.2 22.9 12.2 5.26 729,000 163.4
1924 58,876,000 1,998,520 1,254,946 743,574 33.9 21.3 12.6 5.07 757,000 156.2
1925 59,736,822 2,086,091 1,210,706 875,395 34.9 20.3 14.5 5.10 860,822 142.4
1926 60,741,000 2,104,405 1,160,734 943,671 34.6 19.1 15.5 5.19 1,004,178 137.5
1927 61,659,000 2,060,737 1,214,323 846,414 33.4 19.7 13.7 5.00 918,000 141.6
1928 62,595,000 2,135,852 1,236,711 899,141 34.1 19.8 14.4 5.09 936,000 136.7
1929 63,461,000 2,077,026 1,261,228 815,798 32.7 19.9 12.9 4.87 866,000 142.1
1930 64,450,005 2,085,101 1,170,867 914,234 32.4 18.2 14.2 4.70 989,005 124.1
1931 65,457,000 2,102,784 1,240,891 861,893 32.1 19.0 13.2 4.76 1,006,995 131.5
1932 65,800,000 2,182,742 1,175,344 1,007,398 32.9 17.7 15.2 4.86 343,000 117.5
1933 66,790,000 2,121,253 1,193,987 927,266 31.5 17.7 13.8 4.63 990,000 121.3
1934 67,680,000 2,043,783 1,234,684 809,099 29.9 18.1 11.9 4.39 890,000 124.8
1935 69,254,148 2,190,704 1,161,936 1,028,768 31.6 16.8 14.9 4.59 574,148 106.7
1936 69,590,000 2,101,969 1,230,278 871,691 30.0 17.5 12.4 4.34 345,852 116.7 46.92 49.63
1937 70,360,000 2,180,734 1,207,899 972,835 30.9 17.1 13.7 4.45 770,000 105.8
1938 70,590,000 1,928,321 1,259,805 668,516 27.2 17.7 9.4 3.88 230,000 114.4
1939 70,930,000 1,901,573 1,268,760 632,813 26.6 17.8 8.8 3.80 340,000 106.2
1940 73,114,308 2,115,867 1,186,595 929,272 29.4 16.4 12.9 4.11 2,184,308 90.0
1941 72,750,000 2,277,283 1,149,559 1,127,724 31.1 15.7 15.4 4.36 -364,308 84.1
1942 73,450,000 2,233,660 1,166,630 1,067,030 30.3 15.8 14.4 4.18 700,000 85.5
1943 73,980,000 2,253,535 1,213,811 1,039,724 30.3 16.3 13.9 4.11 530,000 86.6
1944 73,865,000 2,149,843 1,279,639 870,204 29.2 17.4 11.8 3.95 -115,000
1945 71,998,104 1,685,583 2,113,798 -428,215 23.2 29.2 -5.9 3.11 -1,866,896
1946 75,300,000 1,905,809 1,326,592 579,217 25.3 17.6 7.7 3.37 3,301,896
1947 78,025,000 2,678,792 1,138,238 1,540,554 34.3 14.6 19.7 4.54 2,725,000 76.7 50.06 53.96
1948 79,500,000 2,681,624 950,610 1,731,014 33.7 12.0 21.8 4.40 1,475,000 61.7 55.6 59.4
1949 81,300,000 2,696,638 945,444 1,751,194 33.2 11.6 21.5 4.32 1,800,000 62.5 56.2 59.8
1950 83,199,637 2,337,507 904,876 1,432,631 28.2 10.9 17.3 3.65 1,899,637 60.1 58.0 61.5
1951 84,235,000 2,137,689 838,998 1,298,691 25.4 10.0 15.4 3.26 1,035,363 57.5 59.57 62.97
1952 85,503,000 2,005,162 765,068 1,240,094 23.5 8.9 14.5 2.98 1,268,000 49.4 61.9 65.5
1953 86,695,000 1,868,040 772,547 1,095,493 21.5 8.9 12.6 2.69 1,192,000 48.9 61.9 65.7
1954 87,976,000 1,769,580 721,491 1,048,089 20.1 8.2 11.9 2.48 1,281,000 44.6 63.41 67.69
1955 89,275,529 1,730,692 693,523 1,037,169 19.4 7.8 11.7 2.37 1,299,529 39.8 63.60 67.75
1956 89,953,000 1,665,278 724,460 940,818 18.5 8.1 10.5 2.22 677,471 40.6 63.59 67.54
1957 90,734,000 1,566,713 752,445 814,268 17.3 8.3 9.0 2.04 781,000 40.0 63.24 67.60
1958 91,546,000 1,653,469 684,189 969,280 18.1 7.5 10.6 2.11 812,000 34.5 64.98 69.61
1959 92,434,000 1,626,088 689,959 936,129 17.6 7.5 10.1 2.04 888,000 33.7 65.21 69.88
1960 93,418,501 1,606,041 706,599 899,442 17.3 7.6 9.7 2.00 984,501 30.7 65.32 70.19
1961 94,943,000 1,589,372 695,644 893,728 17.0 7.4 9.6 1.96 28.6 66.03 70.79
1962 95,832,000 1,618,616 710,265 908,351 17.1 7.5 9.6 1.98 26.4 66.23 71.16
1963 96,812,000 1,659,521 670,770 988,751 17.4 7.0 10.4 2.00 23.2 67.21 72.34
1964 97,826,000 1,716,761 673,067 1,043,694 17.8 6.9 10.8 2.05 20.4 67.67 72.87
1965 98,274,961 1,823,697 700,438 1,123,259 18.7 7.1 11.5 2.14 18.5 67.74 72.92
1966 99,790,000 1,360,974 670,342 690,632 13.8 6.8 7.1 1.58 19.3 68.35 73.61
1967 100,725,000 1,935,647 675,006 1,260,641 19.4 6.7 12.7 2.23 14.9 68.91 74.15
1968 102,061,000 1,871,839 686,555 1,185,284 18.5 6.8 11.8 2.13 15.3 69.05 74.30
1969 103,172,000 1,889,815 693,787 1,196,028 18.5 6.8 11.7 2.13 14.2 69.18 74.67
1970 103,720,060 1,934,239 712,962 1,221,277 18.7 6.9 11.9 2.13 13.1 69.31 74.66
1971 105,697,000 2,000,973 684,521 1,316,452 19.1 6.5 12.6 2.16 12.4 70.17 75.58
1972 107,188,000 2,038,682 683,751 1,354,931 19.2 6.4 12.8 2.14 11.7 70.50 75.94
1973 108,709,000 2,091,983 709,416 1,382,567 19.2 6.5 12.7 2.14 11.3 70.70 76.02
1974 110,162,000 2,029,989 710,510 1,319,479 18.4 6.4 12.0 2.05 10.8 71.16 76.31
1975 111,939,643 1,901,440 702,275 1,199,165 17.0 6.3 10.7 1.91 10.0 71.73 76.89
1976 112,775,000 1,832,617 703,270 1,129,347 16.3 6.2 10.0 1.85 9.3 72.15 77.35
1977 113,872,000 1,755,100 690,074 1,065,026 15.4 6.1 9.4 1.80 8.9 72.69 77.95
1978 114,534,000 1,708,643 695,821 1,012,822 14.9 6.1 8.8 1.79 8.4 72.97 78.33
1979 115,496,000 1,642,580 689,664 952,916 14.2 6.0 8.2 1.77 7.9 73.46 78.89
1980 116,600,396 1,576,889 722,801 854,088 13.6 6.2 7.3 1.75 7.5 73.35 78.76
1981 117,222,000 1,529,455 720,262 809,193 13.0 6.1 6.9 1.74 7.1 73.79 79.13
1982 118,043,000 1,515,392 711,883 803,509 12.8 6.0 6.8 1.77 6.6 74.22 79.66
1983 118,839,000 1,508,687 740,038 768,649 12.7 6.2 6.5 1.80 6.2 74.20 79.78
1984 119,493,000 1,489,780 740,247 749,533 12.5 6.2 6.3 1.81 6.0 74.54 80.18
1985 120,248,923 1,431,577 752,283 679,294 11.9 6.3 5.6 1.76 5.5 74.78 80.48
1986 120,919,000 1,382,946 750,620 632,326 11.4 6.2 5.2 1.72 5.2 75.23 80.93
1987 121,782,000 1,346,658 751,172 595,486 11.1 6.2 4.9 1.69 5.0 75.61 81.39
1988 122,347,000 1,314,006 793,014 520,992 10.8 6.5 4.3 1.66 4.8 75.54 81.30
1989 122,956,000 1,246,802 788,594 458,208 10.2 6.4 3.7 1.57 4.6 75.91 81.77
1990 123,411,167 1,221,585 820,305 401,280 10.0 6.7 3.3 1.54 4.6 75.92 81.90
1991 123,923,000 1,223,245 829,797 393,448 9.9 6.7 3.2 1.53 4.4 76.11 82.11
1992 124,376,000 1,208,989 856,643 352,346 9.8 6.9 2.9 1.50 4.5 76.09 82.22
1993 124,807,000 1,188,282 878,532 309,750 9.6 7.1 2.5 1.46 4.3 76.25 82.51
1994 125,259,000 1,238,328 875,933 362,395 10.0 7.1 2.9 1.50 4.2 76.57 82.98
1995 125,472,000 1,187,064 922,139 264,925 9.6 7.4 2.2 1.42 4.3 76.38 82.85
1996 125,757,000 1,206,555 896,211 310,344 9.7 7.2 2.5 1.43 3.8 77.01 83.59
1997 126,057,000 1,191,665 913,402 278,263 9.5 7.3 2.2 1.39 3.7 77.19 83.82
1998 126,400,000 1,203,147 936,484 266,663 9.6 7.5 2.1 1.38 3.6 77.16 84.01
1999 126,631,000 1,177,669 982,031 195,638 9.4 7.8 1.6 1.34 3.4 77.10 83.99
2000 126,843,000 1,190,547 961,653 228,894 9.5 7.7 1.8 1.36 3.2 77.72 84.60
2001 127,149,000 1,170,662 970,331 200,331 9.3 7.7 1.6 1.33 3.1 78.07 84.93
2002 127,445,000 1,153,855 982,379 171,476 9.2 7.8 1.4 1.32 3.0 78.32 85.23
2003 127,718,000 1,123,610 1,014,951 108,659 8.9 8.0 0.9 1.29 3.0 78.36 85.33
2004 127,761,000 1,110,721 1,028,602 82,119 8.8 8.2 0.6 1.29 2.8 78.64 85.59
2005 127,773,000 1,062,530 1,083,796 -21,266 8.4 8.6 -0.2 1.26 2.8 78.56 85.52
2006 127,854,000 1,092,674 1,084,451 8,223 8.7 8.6 0.1 1.32 2.6 79.00 85.81
2007 128,001,000 1,089,818 1,108,334 -18,516 8.6 8.8 -0.2 1.34 2.6 79.19 85.99
2008 128,063,000 1,091,156 1,142,407 -51,251 8.7 9.1 -0.4 1.37 2.6 79.29 86.05
2009 128,047,000 1,070,036 1,141,865 -71,829 8.5 9.1 -0.6 1.37 2.4 79.59 86.44
2010 128,070,000 1,071,305 1,197,014 -125,709 8.5 9.5 -1.0 1.39 2.3 79.64 86.39
2011 127,833,000 1,050,807 1,253,068 -202,261 8.3 9.9 -1.6 1.39 2.3 79.44 85.90
2012 127,629,000 1,037,232 1,256,359 -219,127 8.2 10.0 -1.8 1.41 2.2 79.93 86.37
2013 127,445,000 1,029,817 1,268,438 -238,621 8.2 10.1 -1.9 1.43 2.1 80.19 86.56
2014 127,276,000 1,003,609 1,273,025 -269,416 8.0 10.1 -2.1 1.42 80.48 86.77
2015 127,141,000 1,005,721 1,290,510 -284,789 8.0 10.3 -2.3 1.45 1.9 80.75 86.98
2016 127,076,000 977,242 1,308,158 -330,916 7.8 10.5 -2.7 1.44 80.98 87.14
2017 126,972,000 946,146 1,340,567 -394,421 7.6 10.8 -3.2 1.43 1.9 81.09 87.26
2018 126,811,000 918,397 1,362,482 -444,085 7.4 11.0 -3.6 1.42 81.25 87.32
2019 126,633,000 865,239 1,381,093 -515,854 7.0 11.2 -4.2 1.36 81.41 87.45
2020 126,261,000 840,832 1,372,648 -531,816 6.8 11.0 -4.2 1.34 81.64 87.74
2021 125,681,593 811,604 1,439,809 -628,205 6.5 11.5 -5.0 1.30 1.6 81.47 87.57

Current vital statistics[edit]

[37][38]

Period Live births Deaths Natural increase
January 2021 – November 2021 774,094 1,318,263 -544,181
January 2022 – November 2022 735,572 1,423,646 -688,074
Difference Decrease -38,522 (-5%) Negative increase +105,383 (+8%) Decrease -143,905

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.[10]

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 (referred to as "J-turn"), or even moved to a rural area for the first time ("I-turn").[10][39]

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.[10]

With a decreasing total population, internal migration results in only 8 prefectures showing an increase in population. These are Okinawa (2.9%), Tokyo (2.7%), Aichi (1.0%), Saitama (1.0%), Kanagawa (0.9%), Fukuoka (0.6%), Shiga (0.2%), and Chiba (0.1%).[40]

Emigration[edit]

About 663,300 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.[10]

Cities with significant populations of Japanese nationals in 2015 included:

Note: The above data shows the number of Japanese nationals living overseas. It was published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and relates to 2015.[41]

Immigration[edit]

According to the Japanese immigration centre, the number of foreign residents in Japan has steadily increased, and the number of foreign residents exceeded 2.8 million people in 2020.[42]

In 2020, the number of foreigners in Japan was 2,887,116. This includes 325,000 Filipinos, many of whom are married to Japanese nationals and possessing some degree of Japanese ancestry,[43][44] 208,538 Brazilians, the majority possessing some degree of Japanese ancestry,[44] 778,112 Chinese, 448,053 Vietnamese and 426,908 South Koreans. Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Filipinos and Brazilians account for about 77% of foreign residents in Japan.

The current issue of the shrinking workforce in Japan alongside its aging population has resulted in a recent need to attract foreign labour to the country. Reforms which took effect in 2015 relax visa requirements for "Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals" and create a new type of residence status with an unlimited period of stay.

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.[45] 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.

Japanese statistical authorities do not collect information on ethnicity, only nationality.[46] As a result, both native and naturalized Japanese citizens are counted in a single group.[47] Although official statistics therefore show homogeneity, other analyses describe the population as “multi-ethnic”.[48][49][50]

Languages[edit]

Languages of Japan
OfficialNone[51]
NationalStandard Japanese
MainStandard Japanese
IndigenousAinu
RegionalJapanese dialects, Amami-Ōshima, Kunigami, Miyako, Okinawan, Yaeyama, Yonaguni
MinorityBonin English, Matagi, Nivkh, Orok, Sanka, Zainichi Korean
ImmigrantChinese, Korean, Mongolian, Portuguese, Spanish
ForeignArabic, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese, Dutch, English, Filipino, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Malay, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
SignedJapanese Sign Language
Amami Oshima Sign Language
Miyakubo Sign Language
Keyboard layout
The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into several dialects with Tokyo dialect considered standard Japanese.

In addition to the Japanese language, Ryūkyūan languages are spoken in Okinawa and parts of Kagoshima in the Ryūkyū Islands. Along with Japanese, these languages are part of the Japonic language family, but they are separate languages, and are not mutually intelligible with Japanese, or with each other. All of the spoken Ryukyuan languages are classified by UNESCO as endangered.

In Hokkaidō, there is the Ainu language, which is spoken by the Ainu people, who are the indigenous people of the island. The Ainu languages, of which Hokkaidō Ainu is the only extant variety, are isolated and do not fall under any language family. Ever since the Meiji period, Japanese has become widely used among the Ainu people and consequently Ainu languages have been classified critically endangered by UNESCO.[52]

In addition, languages such as Orok, Evenki and Nivkh spoken in formerly Japanese controlled southern Sakhalin are becoming more and more endangered. After the Soviet Union took control of the region, speakers of these languages and their descendants migrated to mainland Japan and still exist in small numbers.

Speakers of Korean, and Zainichi Korean, which stems from Korean, also reside in Japan.

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).[53] This can be also said for Brazilians (300,000, many of whom are ethnically Japanese) as well as Peruvians and Argentineans of both Latin American and Japanese descent.[citation needed] Japan has indigenous minority groups such as the Ainu and Ryukyuans, who generally speak Japanese.

Citizenship[edit]

Japanese citizenship is conferred jure 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 after the age of adulthood, and so people becoming naturalised Japanese citizens must relinquish their previous citizenship upon reaching the age of 20 years[citation needed]

In addition, people taking Japanese citizenship must take a name using one or more of the Japanese character sets (hiragana, katakana, kanji). Names written in the Western alphabet, Korean alphabet, 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.[citation needed]

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. Nonetheless, some 10,000 Zainichi Koreans naturalize every year. Approximately 98.6% of the population are Japanese citizens, 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.[48]

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.[10] 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.[54][55][56][57] Japanese have been surveyed to be relatively lacking in financial satisfaction.[58] The societal view generally disapproves of out-of-wedlock births and premarital pregnancies.[59]

Social isolation is a problem for a segment of Japanese society, with almost 500,000 young people belonging to this group, they are also known as hikikomori.[60]

The Japanese management working culture in Japan has led some to work-related deaths due to heart attack or stroke, this has led to the term karoshi (lit. "overwork death"). The government has received 200 claims of karoshi related work injuries each year, with some leading to suicide.[61]

Many Japanese lead a sexless marriage. Japan has the lowest level of couples having sex at 45 times per year, well below the global average of 103 times. With reasons of "tired" and "bored with intercourse" usually given as an answer.[62] Despite this, Japan ranks as number two globally on the amount spent on pornography, after South Korea.[63][64]

Marriages and divorce[edit]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Naturalized Japanese citizens and native-born Japanese nationals with multi-ethnic background are all considered to be Japanese in the population census of Japan.[47]

Discrimination against ethnic minorities[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.[10]

During the Edo 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.[10] The buraku continued to be treated as social outcasts and some casual interactions with the majority caste were perceived taboo until the era after World War II.

Estimates of their number range from 2 to 4 million (about 4% of the national population in 2022). 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, and membership can be surmised from the location of the family home, occupation, dialect, or mannerisms. Checks on family background designed to ferret out buraku were commonly performed as part of marriage arrangements and employment applications,[10] but have been illegal since 1985 in Osaka.

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,[10] with some success. Nadamoto Masahisa of the Buraku History Institute estimates that as of 1998, between 60 and 80% of burakumin marry a non-burakumin.[65]

Ryukyuans[edit]

One of the largest minority groups among Japanese citizens is the Ryukyuan people.[66] 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.[citation needed]

Ainu[edit]

Japanese Ainu group in 1904

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,[10] by the Tokugawa shogunate, the Ainu were pushed into the island of Hokkaido.[67]

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.[10]

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.[10]

Hāfu[edit]

Hāfu (a kana rendition of "half") is a term used for people who are biracial and ethnically half Japanese. Of the one million children born in Japan in 2013, 2.2% had one or two non-Japanese parents.[70] According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, one in forty-nine babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent.[68] Most intermarriages in Japan are between Japanese men and women from other Asian countries, including China, the Philippines and South Korea.[69] Southeast Asia too, also has significant populations of people with half-Japanese ancestry, particularly in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

In the 1940s, biracial Japanese children (Ainoko), specifically Amerasian children, encountered social problems such as poverty, perception of impurity and discrimination due to negative treatment in Japan.[70] In the 21st century, discrimination against hāfu occurs based on how different their identity, behavior and appearance is from a typical Japanese person.[71]

Foreign residents[edit]

Transition of numbers of registered foreigners in Japan from five major countries[needs update]
Age and Sex Distribution of Major Foreigners in Japan.

In 2021, there were 2,887,116 foreign residents in Japan, representing 2.3% of the Japanese population.[72] Foreign Army personnel, of which there were up to 430,000 from the SCAP (post-occupation, United States Forces Japan) and 40,000 BCOF in the immediate post-war years, have not been at any time included in Japanese foreign resident statistics.[73] Most foreign residents in Japan come from Brazil or from other Asian countries, particularly from China, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, and Nepal.[74][75]

A number of long-term resident Koreans in Japan today retain familial links with the descendants of Koreans,[76] that either immigrated voluntarily or were forcibly relocated during the Japanese Occupation of the Korea. Within this group, a number hold Special Permanent Resident status, granted under the terms of the Normalisation Treaty (22. June 1965) between South Korea and Japan.[77] In many cases special residents, despite being born in Japan and speaking Japanese, have chosen not to take advantage of the mostly automatic granting of citizenship to special resident applicants.[78]

Beginning in 1947 the Japanese government started to repatriate Korean nationals, who had nominally been granted Japanese citizenship during the years of military occupation. When the Treaty of San Francisco came into force many ethnic Koreans lost their Japanese citizenship from April 28, 1952 and with it the right to welfare grants, to hold a government job of any kind or to attend Japanese schools.[73] 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.[79] Between 1959 and 1984 93,430 people used this route, of whom 6,737 were Japanese or Chinese dependents. Most of these departures – 78,276 – occurred before 1962.[80]

Foreign-born population by citizenship in 2016.[81]

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.[10]

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,[10] 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 of freedom of movement.

Of these foreign residents below, the new wave started in 2014 comes to Japan as students or trainees. These foreigners are registered under student visa or trainee visa, which gives them the student residency status. Most of these new foreigners are under this visa. Almost all of these foreign students and trainees will return to their home country after three to four years (one valid period); few students extend their visa. Vietnamese makes the largest increase, however Burmese, Cambodians, Filipinos and Chinese are also increasing.

Asian migrant wives of Japanese men have also contributed to the foreign-born population in the country. Many young single Japanese male farmers choose foreign wives, mainly from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and South Korea, due to a lack of interest from Japanese women living a farming life.[82] Migrant wives often travel as mail-order brides as a result of arranged marriages with Japanese men.[83] Additionally, Japanese men in urban parts of the country have also begun marrying foreign Asian women.

Country 1990 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012[84] 2014[85] 2015[86] 2017[87] 2019[88] 2020[42] Main Articles
China China 137,499 335,575 519,561 687,156 674,879 652,555[89] 654,777[89] 665,847[89] 711,486 813,675 778,112 Chinese people in Japan
 Vietnam 6,316 16,908 28,932 41,781 44,690 52,364 99,865 146,956 232,562 411,968 448,053 Vietnamese people in Japan
South Korea South Korea 681,838 635,269 598,687 565,989 545,401 530,046 501,230 457,772 452,953 446,364 426,908 Koreans in Japan
 Philippines 38,925 144,871 187,261 210,181 209,376 209,974 217,585 229,595 251,934 282,798 279,660 Filipinos in Japan
 Brazil 14,258 254,394 302,080 230,552 210,032 190,581 175,410 173,437 185,967 211,677 208,538 Brazilians in Japan
   Nepal 399 3,649 6,953 17,525 20,383 24,069 42,346 54,775 74,300 96,824 95,982 Nepalis in Japan
 Indonesia 2,781 19,346 25,097 24,895 24,660 25,530 30,210 35,910 46,350 66,860 66,832 Indonesians in Japan
Taiwan Taiwan 22,773 40,197 48,723 54,358 64,773 55,872 Taiwanese people in Japan [jp]
 United States 34,900 44,856 49,390 50,667 49,815 48,357 51,256 52,271 54,918 59,172 55,761 Americans in Japan
 Thailand 5,542 29,289 37,703 41,279 42,750 40,130 43,081 45,379 48,952 54,809 53,379 Thai people in Japan [jp]
 Peru 4,121 46,171 57,728 54,636 52,842 49,248 47,978 47,721 47,861 48,669              48,256 Peruvian migration to Japan
 India 2,926 10,064 16,988 22,497 21,501 21,653 24,524 26,244 30,048 40,202              38,558 Indians in Japan
 Myanmar 894 4,851 5,342 8,577 8,692 8,045 10,252 13,737 20,346 32,049              35,049 Burmese people in Japan
North Korea North Korea 33,939 31,674 28,096              27,214 Koreans in Japan
 Sri Lanka 1,064 5,655 9,013 9,097 9,303 8,427 10,741 13,152 20,716 27,367              29,290 Sri Lankans in Japan
 United Kingdom 9,272 16,525 17,494 16,044 15,496 14,652 15,262 15,826 16,498 18,631              16,891 Britons in Japan
 Pakistan 1,875 7,498 8,789 10,299 10,849 10,597 11,802 12,708 14,312 17,766              19,103 Pakistanis in Japan
 Bangladesh 2,205 7,176 11,015 10,175 9,413 8,622 9,641 10,835 13,033 16,632              17,463 Bangladeshis in Japan
 Cambodia 1,148 1,761 2,263 2,683 2,770 2,862 4,090 6,111 9,598 15,020              16,659
 France 2,881 5,371 7,337 9,060 8,423 8,455 9,641 10,672 12,273 14,106              12,264 French people in Japan
 Mongolia 23 1,209 3,762 4,949 4,774 4,837 5,796 6,590 8,364 12,797              13,504 Mongolians in Japan
 Australia 3,073 9,188 11,277 9,756 9,166 8,888 9,350 9,843 9,981 12,024                 9,758 Australians in Japan
 Canada 4,172 10,088 12,022 9,995 9,484 9,006 9,286 9,538 10,085 11,118              10,103
 Malaysia 4,309 8,386 7,910 8,364 8,136 7,848 8,288 8,738 9,394 10,862              10,318 Malaysians in Japan
 Russia 340[90] 4,893 7,110 7,814 7,566 7,295 7,859 8,092 8,500 9,378                 9,249 Russians in Japan
 Germany 3,410 4,295 5,356 5,971 5,303 5,223 5,864 6,336 6,755 7,782                 6,114 Germans in Japan [jp]
 Bolivia 238 3,915 6,139 5,720 5,567 5,283 5,333 5,412 5,657 6,096                 6,119
 Turkey 190 1,424 2,275 2,547 2,613 2,528 3,654 4,157 5,167 5,419                 6,212 Turks in JapanKurds in Japan
 Italy 890 1,579 2,083 2,731 2,642 2,629 3,267 3,536 4,019 4,702                 4,263
 Iran 988 6,167 5,227 4,841 4,725 3,996 3,976 3,996 3,988 4,170                 4,121 Iranians in Japan
 New Zealand 967 3,264 3,824 3,250 3,146 3,109 3,119 3,152 3,217 3,672                 3,280
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 938 1,329 1,503 2,269 3,627                 3,632
 Spain 827 1,338 1,585 1,907 1,883 1,822 2,309 2,495 2,852 3,620                 3,240
 Afghanistan 430 593 1,148 1,355 1,609 2,154 2,639 2,873 3,350                 3,509 Afghans in Japan [jp]
 Nigeria 140 1,741 2,389 2,729 2,730 2,377 2,518 2,638 2,845 3,201                 3,315 Nigerians in Japan
 Singapore 1,042 1,940 2,283 2,512 2,440 2,135 2,366 2,501 2,763 3,164                 2,958
 Argentina 1,704 3,072 3,834 3,181 2,970 2,722 2,651 2,630 2,710 3,077                 2,966
 Laos 864 1,677 2,393 2,639 2,584 2,521 2,556 2,592 2,730 2,965                 2,903
 Mexico 691 1,740 1,825 1,956 1,909 1,935 2,033 2,141 2,393 2,889                 2,714
 Colombia 373 2,496 2,902 2,606 2,505 2,253 2,244 2,268 2,366 2,509                 2,482
 Ghana 518 1,657 1,824 1,883 1,891 1,729 1,915 2,005 2,235 2,404                 2,506 Ghanaians in Japan
 Romania 34 2,449 3,574 2,409 2,281 2,185 2,245 2,408 2,410 2,332                 2,250 Romanians in Japan [jp]
Total Foreign Residents 984,455 1,686,444 2,011,555 2,134,151 2,078,508 2,033,656 2,121,831 2,232,189 2,471,458 2,933,137 2,887,116

Foreign residents as of 2015[edit]

There was an increase of 110,358 foreign residents from 2014 to 2015. Vietnamese made the largest proportion of these new foreign residents, whilst Nepalese, Filipino, Chinese and Taiwanese are also significant in numbers. Together these countries makes up 91,126 or 82.6% of all new residents from 2014 to 2015. However, the majority of these immigrants will only remain in Japan for a maximum of five years, as many of them have entered the country in order to complete trainee programmes. Once they complete their programmes, they will be required to return to their home countries.[91]

As of December 2014 there were 2,121,831 foreigners residing in Japan, 677,019 of whom were long-term residents in Japan, according to national demographics figures. The majority of long-term residents were from Asia, totalling 478,953. Chinese made up the largest portion of them with 215,155, followed by Filipinos with 115,857, and Koreans with 65,711. Thai, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese long-term residents totaled 47,956, and those from other Asian countries totaled 34,274. The Korean figures do not include zainichi Koreans with tokubetsu eijusha ("special permanent resident") visas, of whom there were 354,503 (of a total of 358,409 of all nationalities with such visas). The total number of permanent residents had declined over the previous five years due to high cost of living.[85]

Foreign residents as of 2021[edit]

The number of foreign residents of Japan reached a high of 2.93 million in 2019 before falling to 2.76 million at the end of 2021.[92] The number of foreign workers was 1.46 million in 2018, 29.7% are in the manufacturing sector; 389,000 are from Vietnam and 316,000 are from China.[93]

On April 1, 2019, Japan's revised immigration law was enacted. The revision clarifies and better protects the rights of foreign workers. Japan formally accepts foreign blue-collar workers. This helps reduce labour shortage in certain sectors of the economy. The reform changes the status of foreign workers to regular employees and they can obtain permanent residence status. The reform includes a new visa status called tokutei gino (特定技能, "designated skills"). In order to qualify, applicants must pass a language and skills test (level N4 or higher of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test). In the old "Technical Trainee programme" a foreign employee was tied to their employer. This caused numerous cases of exploitation. The revision gives foreign workers more freedom to leave and change their employer.[94]

  1. ^ The proportion of foreign nationals is most likely higher due to those that did not declare a nationality. The Statistics of Foreign Residents estimated that there was a total of 2,887,116 (2.3% of the total population) foreign nationals in December 2020, while in the 2020 census carried out in October enumarated 2,402,460 foreign nationals.

Religion[edit]

Shinto and Buddhism are Japan's two major religions. They have co-existed for more than a thousand years. However, most Japanese people generally do not exclusively identify themselves as adherents of one religion, but rather incorporate various elements in a syncretic fashion.[95] 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Statistics Bureau Home Page/Population Estimates Monthly Report". www.stat.go.jp. Retrieved 2022-09-21.
  2. ^ Clyde Haberman (1987-01-15). "Japan's Zodiac: '66 was a very odd year". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-21.
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External links[edit]

Media related to Demographics of Japan at Wikimedia Commons