...and finds some inequalities of more than casual interest.
Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications* released its annual Analysis of Internal Migration in Japan Derived from the Basic Resident Registers (in J: 住民基本台帳に基づく人口・人口動態及び世帯数の調査).
The survey provides one of the three official population figures of Japan, the other two being the results of the personal interview surveys done every five years and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor's population clock.
The Basic Resident Register Survey is just that--the sum of the number of registered residents as reported annually to the Ministry by every local government.
Now the survey reconfirmed what a lot of people knew already:
1) the country's on the downhill slide--the total number of registered residents in Japan fell by 3,505 persons
2) if you live around Tokyo or Nagoya--or in Shiga or Okinawa Prefectures--and you feel as though the world is crowding in on you, you are not imagining things.
The population of Metro Tokyo grew by 0.74% in 2005 (highest growth in the nation); Aichi Prefecture by 0.49%. The immediate area around Tokyo grew by an aggregate 0.47%. The long-lived and loose-living Okinawans had the greatest rate of biological increase (births minus deaths). Shiga grew purportedly because some geniuses are building vast highrise suburbs there for the Kyoto-Osaka market.
3) If you lived anywhere else your neighbors were getting scarcer (OK, OK - Fukuoka grew a 0.10%--so sue me). The worst to go looking for new customers for whatever it is you want to sell was perennial loser Akita, where last year 0.88% of the population either died or moved away. Aomori shrunk by 0.85%; Kochi by 0.81%; Nagasaki by 0.75%.
Akita, Aoki Mikio's beloved Shimane and Abe Shinzō's stomping grounds of Yamaguchi are tied in the contest for the longest losing streak--all have been losing population for 14 straight years.
4) Your neighbors, in addition to getting scarcer, were getting older (just before getting scarcer, one should guess). In Akita, Shimane and Kochi, the percentages of persons over 65 years of age are 27, 27 and 26, respectively--way over the national rate of 20.3%
5) Osaka--where not a hell of a lot has gone right for a while--lost its place as the second most populous todōfuken. Kanagawa is now number two in the rankings, having added 40,000 persons over the last year (all those Kawasaki towers filling up, you know) .
Now these and a lot of other fun facts for marketers and super store locators can be found on the MIC website and the morning newspapers of August 5.
What the Nikkei did with the figures that was clever was run a cross check of the population shifts in the local government registers against the representation of those areas in the Diet.
The most over-represented district in the Diet is Kōchi Prefecture District #3 (population 264,014), whose Representative is Yamamoto Yūji (LDP - 6 elections).
The most under-represented district is Hyōgo Prefecture District #6 (the city of Takarazuka--among other things) whose Representative is Kobiki Tsukasa (Who? Never heard of him. Oh, Koizumi Kid...LDP - 1 election).
Now what is interesting is the ratio of inequality. From the Nikkei's calculation every vote in Kōchi #3 is the equivalent of 2.177 votes in Hyōgo #6.
I was under the impression the top level of inequality was much higher, above 3-to-1.
2.177 sounds almost...mild, really.
It is still pretty depressing that the voters in these 27 districts --and the least represented districts are all either urban districts (Nagano #1 is Nagano City) or in Hokkaidō (I guess that explains the Takushoku Ginkō failure)--have votes worth half as much as those of the voters of Kochi District #3 and its simulacrae in Shimane, Tottori, et al.
And dangnabbit, these underrepresented districts are the places that are growing (pax Hokkaidō), that have vibrant economies (ibid) and are where the young and the restless can be found!
All figures courtesy: Nihon Keizai Shimbun
Morning edition for August 5, 2006.
* MIC - What an embarrassingly cute acronym! MIC! MIC! I work for MIC! As in MIC...KEY...M-O-U-S-E!