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Japanese Population Drops Most Since World War II After Quake

Japan’s population dropped in 2011 for a fifth year, falling by the most since World War II, after a record earthquake and tsunami killed thousands, according to the health ministry.

The country’s population fell by 204,000 to 126.24 million people last year, the biggest decline since at least 1947, the earliest year for which government data is available, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

The number of deaths rose 5.3 percent from 2010 to 1.26 million people, according to the statement. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan’s northeast coast on March 11 killed 15,844 people and left 3,451 missing, according to a Dec. 30 statement from the National Police Agency.

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