National Jan. 02, 2014 – 06:20AM JST
Japan’s population fell by a record 244,000 in 2013, according to health ministry estimates released on Wednesday, highlighting concerns over an ever-dwindling workforce supporting a growing number of pensioners.
An estimated 1,031,000 babies were born in 2013, down about 6,000 from a year earlier, the ministry said.
On the other hand, around 1,275,000 people died—up about 19,000 from the previous year, the highest annual rise since World War II.
As a result, the natural population decline came to a record 244,000, the ministry said, beating the previous highest fall of 219,000 in 2012.
Japan’s population totalled 126,393,679 as of March 31, down 0.21 percent from a year earlier, according to a government figure.
It has continually declined since 2007 by natural attrition—deaths minus births.