There were 51,459 foreigners deported for violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law in 2000, down 3,708 from the previous year, Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama said Tuesday.

Of the total, 40,756 had overstayed their visas, down by 3,647, and 9,186 had entered Japan illegally, down by 151, she said.

A total of 44,190, or about 86 percent of the deportees, had taken jobs without proper visas, Moriyama said.

Of the foreigners who entered Japan illegally, a record 6,828 flew to the country in 2000, up by 547 from 6,281 the previous year, she said.

Expressing concern about public security with an estimated 260,000 foreigners illegally staying in Japan, Moriyama said her ministry and other government offices concerned will take more measures to improve immigration control and crack down on illegal entrants and those overstaying their visas.

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