People aged 65 or older accounted for a record 26.7 per cent of Japan’s total population in 2015, up from 23 per cent five years earlier, the government said Wednesday.
The figure is the highest among industrialized countries, higher than Italy's 22.4 per cent and Germany's 21.2 per cent, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The number of Japanese aged 65 or older was 33.42 million, out of a total population of 127.1 million, as of October 1, 2015, the ministry said.
The number of children under 15 fell to 15.86 million, or 12.7 per cent of the population, the smallest percentage since Japan started taking a census in 1920.
Japan is facing an increased demographic burden after decades of rapid ageing of the population and declining birth rates. Critics say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has done little to reverse the trend.
People aged 65 or older are expected to account for 40 per cent of the population by 2060, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.