【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.5: Rapidly decreasing births and increasing deaths

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

On December 22, 2017, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced the population demographics for 2017. The number of births in 2017 was 941,000, which seems to have updated the minimum since the start of statistics in 1899. The number of deaths stood at 1,344,000. The natural decline in population is expected to exceed 400,000 for the first time.

The rate of decrease in births and the increase in deaths will accelerate in the future. As Table 1 shows, the number of births and deaths are predicted to be 742,000 and 1,679,000, respectively, in 2040. As a result, the natural decline in population would be 937,000, that is, almost one million.

Securing a deathplace is becoming a major social problem because the number of deaths is expected to increase by more than 300,000. The death place composition in 2016 was: 73.9% in hospitals, 13% at home, 9.2% in elderly facilities, and 3.9% in others. Although I pointed out in column No. 3 that the number of hospitals in Japan is excessive, it would not be easy to secure these additional 300,000 death places. 

Table 1: Population demographics in Japan


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