Japanese Newspaper Circulation Drops by 10 Million Since 2000
Newspaper readership continues to decline in Japan. In 2018, the average daily number of general-interest newspapers printed plunged by almost 2 million or 5.0% to 36,823,021. This is a drop of more than 10 million compared with 2000, a figure larger than the entire 8.5 million print run for the daily morning edition of the nation’s most popular newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Even including figures for sports newspapers, total circulation has dropped below 40 million for the first time. Per household purchases of newspapers now stand at 0.7 copies.
In a 2018 newspaper audience survey conducted by the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, 53.6% of respondents said they read a physical newspaper daily, 15.9% did so more than once a week, while 4.3% did so more than once a month. Respondents who constituted an expanded audience for newspapers, defined as those who did not read a physical newspaper but who saw newspaper articles or ads via social media, accounted for 17.4% of the sample.
Of the daily newspaper readers, 19.8% were in their fifties, 28.1% in their sixties, and 22.2% in their seventies. In other words, 70% were over 50. Meanwhile, 80% of the expanded audience, who rarely read a physical newspaper, were in their forties or younger. These results indicate that dedicated newspaper readers skew heavily toward the older population.