Japan has inoculated 75.7 percent of its population with two COVID-19 shots, the highest among the Group of Seven industrialized nations, according to government data released Thursday.

With the progress of its vaccination program for the country's population of around 125 million, Japan, which had trailed many leading democracies such as the United States, has now topped Canada, which had the highest inoculation rate of 75.5 percent.

New coronavirus cases have sharply decreased in Japan as its vaccine rollout that started earlier this year gathered pace, with 163 new cases confirmed across the country Thursday, compared to a peak of over 25,000 reported in August.

Nationwide, severe COVID-19 cases have also been on the decline recently, with Thursday's figure of 76 down two from the previous day, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

The government tally also showed the total number of COVID shots provided in Japan reached 195.32 million, and the number of people who received at least one shot rose to 99.4 million, or 78.5 percent of the population.

The number of people who had a second shot climbed to 95.91 million, and the rate of fully inoculated people aged 65 or older surpassed 91 percent, according to the data.

A tally by the University of Oxford's Our World in Data project showed that Italy ranked third among G-7 nations after Japan and Canada, with a vaccination rate of 72.7 percent as of Wednesday.

Canada, however, led G-7 nations in terms of the rate of people who received at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot at 79.0 percent.

The G-7 also includes Britain, France, Germany and the United States.

Other than the G-7 members, eight nations, including Singapore and Spain, reached higher fully vaccinated rates than Japan, at 91.9 percent and 80.2 percent, respectively.