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Japan sees record high number of foreign residents

By WANG XU | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-03-26 09:46


The number of foreign residents officially living in Japan reached a record high of 2.73 million by the end of 2018, the country's Ministry of Justice said. That was a 6.6 percent rise from a year earlier.

According to data published on Friday, 2,731,093 foreigners were registered living in Japan at the end of 2018, with women slightly outnumbering men at 51.4 percent of the total.

By nationality, China topped the foreign residents list with a share of 28 percent. That means 764,720 Chinese, more than the population of Seattle, Washington State, are currently living in the island country mainly as permanent residents, students or technical trainees.

South Korea followed China on that list with 449,634 ROK citizens living in Japan, followed by Vietnamese with 330,835 residents and the Philippines with 271,289.

The overall growth in 2018 was due to Vietnamese, whose numbers increased 26.1 percent from 2017. Most are young workers.

"In the case of Vietnamese residents in particular, this tendency is owing to strong growth in the number of technical trainees and those who come to work as engineers or specialists in humanities," an official from the ministry's immigration bureau told The Japan Times.

In a move to further attract foreign workers amid a severe labor shortage, the Japanese government is expecting a further increase in foreign resident numbers under a new visa policy which will come into effect in April.

Nowadays, 771,568 of foreign residents in Japan are permanent ones; 337,000 hold student visas and 328,360 are undergoing vocational training.

Friday's data also showed that foreigners illegally staying in Japan rose by 11.5 percent to 74,167 in 2018, with the largest group being ROK citizens with 12,766, down by 0.9 percent from 2017.

Numbers of Vietnamese illegally residing in Japan also saw an 64.7 percent jump, reaching 11,131 in 2018, the ministry said.

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