Recent statistics are showing that the Japanese population is declining, due to the fact a large portion of the population is ageing. 

It need not be said that alongside an older population means a higher death rate, and, coupled with the fact that fewer Japanese people are having children than ever before, the death rate is surpassing the birth rate. This means that there are no people to replace those in the population after they die.

Because of this, Visa regulations have recently been relaxed, which means that migration into the country is soaring, especially from nearby countries. China has the largest number of immigrants to Japan, whereas Vietnam and South Korea have the highest percentages of their populations within the country.

There are now 2,667,000 foreigners living in Japan – an increase of about 170,000 from 12 months earlier, according to annual statistics released this month by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Moreover, after five years, these foreigners now make up five percent of the whole population in Japan.

Looking back over the last thirty years, the number of migrants into Japan has increased steadily, though this has surged in the last ten years, especially. The only exception to this trend was the period of 2010 to 2011, wherein natural disasters in the form of tsunamis and earthquakes took place, which coudl hinder interest in the country for safety’s sake.

Despite this pool of new nationalities into Japan, the country’s overall population is still steadily declining. At the start of 2019, population figures stood at 124,776,364 people – or 433,239 fewer people than the previous year. It was the 10th straight year that population had decreased since the previous one, and the steepest decline since statistics were first collated in 1968.

There were 921,000 births in 2018, coming in below the one million threshold for the third consecutive year. Conversely, 1,363,564 people died, the sixth consecutive increase.

According to researchers at Tohoku University, if the population continues to decline at the current rate, the Japanese will be extinct by August 16, 3766. 

Due to labor shortages, the Japanese government is permitting more foreigners to come and work, trying to eliminate Visa stress surrounding obtaining and renewing the document as much as possible.

Most of the people who are working are students, so only stay in the country for a few years. Some return, however, and some come back with family members or friends, due to the many positive aspects of living in Japan – the transportation and the people are punctual, the culture is rich in history, and the cities are often clean and modern. 

Michael, a student in Japan who is originally from Australia, said: “There are a lot of positives to life here. It’s very safe, the people are always respectful and helpful, and the food is phenomenal – wherever I go after Japan, I always end up disappointed.”

Many of the new semi-skilled arrivals will be working in food services, cleaning, construction, agriculture, fishing, vehicle repair and operating industrial machinery, while individuals with recognized skills will be eligible for a broader range of employment. Some 345,000 working visas are expected to be issued in the next five years, but this will still not be enough to address the shortfall in certain sectors.

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