Chinese now No. 1 foreign group

Kyodo News

Chinese became the largest group of foreign residents in Japan at the end of 2007, outnumbering Koreans, the Immigration Bureau said Tuesday.

Of the 2.15 million registered foreigners in Japan, Chinese numbered 606,889, or 28.2 percent, while Koreans totaled 593,489, or 27.6 percent, the bureau said. They were followed by Brazilians, Filipinos and Peruvians.

The number of registered foreigners is about 50 percent higher than a decade ago and constitutes 1.7 percent of Japan’s dwindling population.

Among the registered foreigners are students, spouses of Japanese and “special” permanent residents, most of whom are of Korean descent.

Among registered Koreans, 426,227 were special permanent residents — those who were forcibly brought to Japan from the Korean Peninsula when it was under Japanese colonial rule, and their offspring.