Japan's population declines by 19,000 in 2005

Japan's population declined by 19,000 in 2005, the government said in an annual report Tuesday. The survey by the Statistics Bureau came after an announcement by the government last week that Japan's population had declined for the first time on record in 2005. Japan's fertility rate is at an all-time low, and the government is concerned that declining number of young people will sap tax revenues and hobble the country's efforts to care for its growing elderly population.

Japan's population fell to an estimated 127,757,000 as of Oct. 1 this year, down 19,000 from 127,776,000 from a year earlier, according to census results released by the statistics bureau of the Internal Affairs Ministry.

The census report said it was the first decline over a one-year period since the World War II, a sign that Japan's population has entered a downward trend.

The latest results also showed a population growth of 830,000, or just 0.7 percent, from the previous national census in 2000, the smallest growth since the government started compiling figures in 1920, the ministry said, reports the AP. I.L.

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