Japan Child Population Down for 43rd Straight Year

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A family prepares to plant eelgrass seedlings during a project to restore the natural ecosystem in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan April 13, 2024.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The estimated population of children under 15 in Japan as of April 1 stood at 14.01 million, marking a decline for the 43rd straight year, the internal affairs ministry said Saturday.

The figure dropped 330,000 from a year before to hit the lowest level since 1950, to which comparable data can date back, the ministry said the day before Children’s Day.

The population of boys stood at 7.18 million, and that of girls at 6.83 million.

The share of children in the country’s total population declined for 50 years in a row, logging a record low of 11.3 pct.

According to U.N. and other estimates with different survey periods, Japan had the second-lowest share of children in the total population among 37 countries with a population of more than 40 million.

Japan had been marking the lowest share in the past. According to the latest data, Japan only slightly surpassed South Korea, whose share stood at 11.2 pct.

By age group, the number of children between 12 and 14 years old stood at 3.17 million in Japan, followed by that of 9- to 11-year-olds at 3.05 million.

Children aged between 6 and 8 numbered 2.88 million, and 3- to 5-year-olds 2.57 million. Those under 3 totaled 2.35 million.

Kids’ population as of Oct. 1 last year declined from a year earlier in all of the country’s 47 prefectures. Tokyo and Kanagawa were the only ones exceeding one million.

Osaka saw its figure drop below one million for the first time since 1970, when the announcement of prefecture-by-prefecture results began.

Okinawa scored the highest share of children in the total population by prefecture at 16.1 pct, followed by Shiga’s 13 pct and Saga’s 12.9 pct.

Akita had the smallest share at 9.1 pct, followed by Aomori’s 10 pct and Hokkaido’s 10.1 pct.