Japan's population is expected to shrink by roughly 30% to 88.08 million by 2065 from the level in 2015, according to a government projection released this week.
Although the latest estimate showed a slower pace of population decline than the previous projection in 2012, the data indicated a grim outlook for the government’s goal, set in 2014, of maintaining the country’s population at 100 million after 50 years, reported Kyodo News Agency.
The projected fertility rate, the expected number of children born per woman during her child-bearing years, has been revised upward slightly to 1.44 in 2065 from the 2012 estimate of 1.35 in 2060, according to the health ministry’s research body, the National Institute of Population and Security Research.
The institute, which provides 50-year demographic forecasts approximately every five years, says that Japan’s population is projected to slip below 100 million in 2053, compared with 2048 in the previous estimate.
The increasing proportion of older people is expected to accelerate, with the number of those aged 65 and higher projected to account for 38.4% of the total population in 2065, up from 26.6% in 2015, suggesting ballooning social security costs.
The latest forecast means 1.2 people aged between 20 and 64 would be supporting an individual aged 65 or older, compared to 2.1 people in 2015.
The forecast, based on public data such as census and demographic statistics, indicates the need to overhaul Japan’s pension and health insurance systems.
After peaking in 2008 at 128.08 million, the country’s population turned downward amid a low birth rate. It stood at 127.09 million in 2015.
Women’s average life expectancy is expected to reach 91.35 in 2065 from 86.98 in 2015, while that of men is likely to climb to 84.95 from 80.75, according to the data.
The fertility rate is forecast to fall to 1.42 in 2024 from the 2015 level of 1.45 before edging up to 1.44 in 2065. But the figure is likely to remain well below the threshold of 2.07 for maintaining the population.