The number of registered foreign residents in Japan at the end of 2005 totaled roughly 2,011,500, surpassing the 2 million mark for the first time ever, the Justice Ministry announced Friday.

The figure was up 1.9 percent from a year ago and foreign nationals now account for 1.57 percent of the total population.

The figure includes permanent residents, some of whom were forcibly relocated to Japan from former colonies, including the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan, and their offspring. Spouses of Japanese nationals and students also make up large segments of the foreign population.

The 599,000 Koreans living in Japan make up the largest share of foreign nationals, accounting for 29.8 percent of the total, according to the ministry’s Immigration Bureau.

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