Japan Data

Postal Mail Volume Decreases in Japan by 45% in Just Over Two Decades

Economy Society

Increased usage of the internet has led to a major drop in the usage of Japan Post services since the turn of the century.

Japan Post handled 14.4 billion domestic standard postal items in fiscal 2022, down 2.8% year on year. Including Yu-Pack, Yu-Mail, and other parcels, the total was 18.5 billion, which was a year-on-year decrease of 3.4%. The trend in fiscal 2023 is also downward, as results for the nine-month period up to December indicate year-on-year decreases of 4.9% and 5.5%, respectively, for mail excluding parcels and total mail.

The volume of domestic standard postal items peaked at 26.2 billion in fiscal 2001, and has been declining ever since, with the total for fiscal 2022 at 45% lower than fiscal 2001.

Annual Volume of Mail Handled in Japan

Japan Post announced a deficit of ¥21.1 billion for fiscal 2022, with ¥1,276.7 billion in operating expenses, as compared to ¥1,255.6 billion in operating revenue. International mail services posted a surplus of ¥3.5 billion, but domestic mail alone was ¥24.6 billion in the red.

The number of convenience stores and supermarkets that sell postal or revenue stamps has been declining as fewer postal items are sent. In fiscal 2011, there were more than 140,000 locations nationwide that sold stamps, but that number had decreased to under 100,000 by the end of fiscal 2021.

The number of mailboxes has decreased by more than 8,000 over the past 10 years, reaching 176,000 at the end of fiscal 2021. A survey conducted by Japan Post in June 2023 found that 43,000 mailboxes (25% of the total) handled less than 30 items per month, and further reductions in the number of mailboxes are being considered.

Numbers of Mailboxes and Stamp Vendors

In December 2023, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced plans to increase the price of sending a standard-size letter (25 grams or less) from ¥84 to ¥110 and the price of sending a postcard from ¥63 to ¥85, starting from around autumn 2024. This will be the first price increase since 1994, apart from increases made in line with consumption-tax hikes.

Price of Sending Letters and Postcards

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)