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Tokyo Sees More People Move in than Out in 2023; Population Shrinks in Osaka, Nagoya Areas

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
JR Shinjuku Station in Tokyo is crowded with commuters during morning rush hour in May 2023.

The number of people moving into Tokyo in 2023 topped those moving out by 68,285, according to an Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry report released Tuesday, up 30,262 from the previous year to mark the second consecutive year of increase.

The figure also came close to the net inflow of 82,982 reported in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting how the population continues to concentrate in Tokyo.

According to the annual report on internal migration in Japan, 454,133 people moved into Tokyo, while 385,848 moved out in 2023. The difference between the two figures rose about 12-fold in two years from a record low of 5,433 in 2021.The increase was likely driven by a post-pandemic burst of job transfers and moves to the capital, mainly among young people.

The difference between the numbers of people moving into and out of the Tokyo metropolitan area — which also includes Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures — also grew for the second consecutive year, for a net inflow of 126,515 in 2023.

Meanwhile, more people left than moved into the Nagoya area — which covers Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures — as well as the Osaka area, which extends into Hyogo, Kyoto and Nara prefectures.

Seven prefectures — Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Shiga and Fukuoka — saw more people move in than out, while the other 40 prefectures saw more people leave, with a resulting loss in their population size.

The central government has set a goal of balancing the flow of people moving to and from the Tokyo metropolitan area by fiscal 2027, but there is no clear path toward achieving this goal.

Meiji University Prof. Hisakazu Kato, who studies population economics, said, “Even prefectures with hub cities have seen growing population outflows, and there is concern that depopulation is accelerating in regional areas.”