New statistics regularly pop up to illustrate the accelerating decline of Japan’s population. Just the other week, the first-ever drop of locals in all 47 prefectures made headlines. Numbers even began to decline in Okinawa, which has the country’s highest birthrate.

At this stage, it’s common knowledge that Japan isn’t an outlier when it comes to low fertility rates, merely a front-runner. The same demographic crunch is starting to hit other nations, notably South Korea and China. Fertility in every European Union country is below replacement level. When the debate quickly turns to the benefits of immigration, Japan is often painted as hostile, if not downright xenophobic, and rejecting the choice of foreign workers.

Take a closer look at that data from last week, however. It shows the number of foreign nationals rose 11% from a year earlier to comprise 2.4% of the total population, or just under 3 million people; as the figures are from Jan. 1, that milestone has now likely already been passed. It often goes unremarked that the number of workers from overseas has more than doubled in the last decade alone, while the broader foreign community (including students and families) has risen 50%.