Japan, once known as the land of the rising sun, is facing a demographic crisis as its population declines and ages rapidly. According to the latest projections by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS), Japan’s population is expected to decrease by 30% by 2070, and the population aged 65 and over will make up about 40% of the population.
This will have serious implications for the country’s economic growth, social security, and international relations.
However, there is one exception to this gloomy outlook: Tokyo. The capital city of Japan is not only growing in terms of population size, but also in terms of population density. Tokyo has the largest number of people of all the cities in the world, with an estimated 37.2 million residents as of 2023.
It is also expected that Tokyo will be the urban area with the world’s highest population density in 2030, with about 6,224 people living per square kilometer.
What are the reasons behind Tokyo’s remarkable resilience and vitality? One factor is its low fertility rate, which has been below the replacement level of 2.1 since 1975. Another factor is its high life expectancy, which has increased from 81.58 years for men and 87.72 years for women in 2020 to 85.89 years for men and 91.94 years for women in 2070. A third factor is its net migration of non-Japanese nationals, which has been positive since 2015.
These factors have enabled Tokyo to maintain a relatively young and dynamic population structure, despite its aging society. However, they also pose challenges for Tokyo’s future development and sustainability. For instance, how can Tokyo cope with the increasing demand for housing, infrastructure, education, health care, and social services? How can Tokyo balance its economic growth with its environmental protection? How can Tokyo attract and retain talented workers and entrepreneurs from other regions?
These are some of the questions that Tokyo will have to answer to overcome its demographic challenges and achieve its potential as a global city. As Japan’s largest city and one of the most influential cities in Asia and beyond, Tokyo has a crucial role to play in shaping Japan’s future as well as its own.