Japan Data

Demographic Shift Sees Japan’s Foreign Population Rise to 2.25%


While the population of Japanese citizens dropped by 500,000 in 2019, the country’s foreign residents increased by 200,000.

Japan’s population was 127,138,033 as of January 1, 2020, according to a demographic survey published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, based on resident registration data. The number of Japanese citizens fell by 505,046 from the previous year to 124,271,318. This is the biggest decrease since the current survey began in 1968, topping 500,000 for the first time. It is also the eleventh consecutive year that these figures have dropped. In contrast, the foreign population showed high growth, increasing by 199,516 over the past year to 2,866,715. Non-Japanese residents now account for 2.25% of the total population.

By age range, Japanese nationals aged 65 to 74, which includes the baby boom generation, and their children aged 40 to 54 account for the largest numbers, while the smaller populations of younger cohorts reflect the country’s declining birthrate. The largest age groups of foreign residents are in their twenties and thirties, showing how they are compensating for labor shortages.

The population of Japanese nationals only increased in three prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Okinawa. In contrast, the population of non-Japanese residents increased across 46 prefectures, with Shimane Prefecture the only exception.

Tokyo has the largest number of foreign residents, followed by Aichi, Osaka, Kanagawa, and Saitama, and these five prefectures alone account for 53.2% of the total.

Prefectures with the Highest and Lowest Total Populations

Tokyo 13,834,925 Tottori 561,175
Kanagawa 9,209,442 Shimane 679,324
Osaka 8,849,635 Kōchi 709,230
Aichi 7,575,530 Tokushima 742,505
Saitama 7,390,054 Fukui 780,053
Chiba 6,319,772 Saga 823,810
Hyōgo 5,549,568 Yamanashi 826,579
Hokkaidō 5,267,762 Wakayama 954,258
Fukuoka 5,129,841 Kagawa 981,280
Shizuoka 3,808,556 Akita 985,416

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Prefectures with the Highest and Lowest Total Populations of Foreign Residents

Tokyo 577,329 Akita 4,302
 Aichi 274,208 Kōchi 4,834
Osaka 252,742 Tottori 4,980
Kanagawa 228,275 Aomori 6,289
Saitama 192,261 Tokushima 6,531
Chiba 165,146 Wakayama 7,085
Hyōgo 114,189 Saga 7,205
Shizuoka 96,960 Miyazaki 7,717
Fukuoka 82,578 Yamagata 7,945
Ibaraki 69,729 Iwate 8,053

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

population demographics population decline foreigner