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Japanese population shrinks by record 500,000

Steady rise in younger foreign residents cushions decade-plus slide

Japan's natural decline, or the difference between deaths and births, came to an all-time high of 511,998. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- The number of Japanese citizens fell by 505,046 last year, the steepest decline in data going back to 1968, official figures released Wednesday show.

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