January 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM ET
The Japanese population, which has been shrinking for the last couple of years, declined by a record 244,000 people in 2013, according to health ministry estimates.
If the current trend persists, the BBC reports the country will lose a third of its population in the next 50 years.
An estimated 1,031,000 babies were born last year, a decline of about 6,000 from the previous year.
With a quarter of the population over 65 years of age, the number of people who died in 2013 was 1,275,000, an increase of 19,000 from 2012.