According to data released by the Ministry of Justice on September 19th, the number of foreign nationals residing in Japan, as of the end of June 2018, was at a record number of 2,633,261 people, an increase of 75,403 people compared to the figures from the previous year.
Breaking down the figures by nationality, the largest number is about 740,000 Chinese nationals, followed by 450,000 Korean and about 290,000 Vietnamese, with about 260,000 Filipino nationals also residing. The highest rate of increase compared to the previous year was in Vietnamese nationals, a 11% higher figure compared to the numbers recorded at the end of 2017.
Furthermore, looking at the numbers in terms of status of residence, the largest group was found to be people with permanent residency at about 760,000 people, followed by about 320,000 Special Permanent Residents (an ancestry related permanent residency), and also about 320,000 people on student visas.
The largest number of foreign residents were found to be living in Tokyo, roughly 550,000 people, accounting for over 20% of the residents nationwide. After Tokyo, about 250,000 people were recorded to be living in Aichi, 230,000 in Osaka and about 210,000 in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The number of foreigners living in Japan has increased rapidly over the past few years due to the influence of the recent governmental policy of more proactively accepting foreign residents. The establishment of a new status of residence is planned for April 2019, and it has been predicted that next year it’s highly likely that the number of foreign nationals will increase dramatically again.
There are a lot of companies suffering from a shortage of talented personnel due to the impact of factors like the declining birthrate and aging population, and it seems that foreign nationals can play an active role in filling these vacant positions.