Japan’s child population declines for 41 years in row

REUTERS file photo
The city of Tokyo is pictured on a fine day January 4, 2008.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s estimated population of children under 15 years old as of April 1 fell by 250,000 from a year earlier to 14.65 million, marking the 41st consecutive year of decline, the internal affairs ministry said Wednesday before Thursday’s Children’s Day in the country.

The latest figure, the lowest since comparable data began in 1950, is a fresh reminder of Japan’s sluggish birthrate.

The proportion of children aged below 15 to the country’s total population dropped to 11.7 pct, down for the 48th consecutive year.

Japan has the lowest such proportion among 35 countries with population of 40 million or more, according to the 2020 U.N. Demographic Yearbook and other sources.

Of the estimated child population in Japan, 7.51 million were boys, and 7.15 million were girls, the ministry data showed.

By age group, 3.23 million were aged 12 to 14, 3.13 million were aged 9 to 11, 3.01 million aged 6 to 8, 2.78 million aged 3 to 5 and 2.51 million aged 2 or younger.

Meanwhile, according to prefecture-by-prefecture data as of Oct. 1, 2021, all of the country’s 47 prefectures logged year-on-year falls in child population. Tokyo, Kanagawa and Osaka were the only three with child population of over 1 million.

The share of children in overall population was the highest in Okinawa, at 16.5 pct, followed by Shiga, at 13.4 pct, and Saga, at 13.3 pct. The share was the lowest in Akita, at 9.5 pct, and the second and third lowest figures were 10.4 pct in Aomori and 10.5 pct in Hokkaido.