The ministry attributed the drop to many people quitting the farming and forestry business as they grow older. The average age of those in the sector was 66.3 years, up six months from five years ago.
The agricultural and forestry population hit a zenith of 5.43 million in 1985 and has since been falling.
The rate of decline in the latest period measured was almost equivalent to the pace five years ago, 22.3 percent, the fastest to date.
Meanwhile, there could be a further blow to the sector from the upcoming 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade bloc, an agreement that might flood Japan with cheap farm products, potentially weakening the sector and spurring further departures from the workforce.
Source and image: Japan Times