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Japan’s 2050 Elderly Population to Top 40% in 25 Prefectures

Reuters file photo
Office and residential buildings are seen from the observation deck of Tokyo Skytree in June 2019.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — People aged 65 or older will comprise over 40% of the population in 25 out of 47 prefectures in 2050, according to estimates released by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research on Friday.

Akita Prefecture is projected to have the highest proportion of elderly individuals nationwide, reaching 49.9%.

Population projections for 2050 revealed declines from 2020 for all prefectures except Tokyo, emphasizing the accelerating trend of population concentration in the capital.

The estimates, based on the 2020 census, track changes in population at five-year intervals for 30 years through 2050, categorized by prefecture, city, ward, town and village.

In 2050, Japan’s total population is estimated at 104,686,000, down 17.0% from 2020. The decline is smaller than in the previous estimate, released in 2018, due to an anticipated increase in the number of non-Japanese residents.

Still, in every five-year period from 2020 to 2050, population decreases are projected for all prefectures except Tokyo. Even in the capital, declines are forecast in the 2040-2045 and 2045-2050 periods.

Substantial drops of 30% or more from 2020 to 2050 are predicted in 11 prefectures, with Akita experiencing the most significant decrease at 41.6%, followed by Aomori Prefecture with 39.0%, and Iwate Prefecture with 35.3%, according to the institute.

In 2050, the proportion of residents aged 65 or older is expected to exceed 40% in 25 prefectures, including Akita. Tokyo is projected to have the lowest share at 29.6%.

Additionally, in the same year, the proportion of individuals aged 75 or older is seen surpassing 20% in all prefectures except Tokyo.

Regarding population distribution, Tokyo is projected to represent 13.8% of the national total in 2050, up from 11.1% in 2020. With population shares also rising for Kanagawa Prefecture and other areas, the concentration of people in the Tokyo metropolitan area is expected to intensify further.

The institute also said that by 2050, the population is expected to decrease by over 50% from 2020 in about 20% of all cities, wards, towns, and villages.

The most significant population declines from 2020 to 2050 are projected for the village of Nanmoku, Gunma Prefecture, with 74.8%, the village of Kuma, Kumamoto Prefecture, with 73.3%, and the village of Nosegawa, Nara Prefecture, with 72.5%.