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Of the 5,423 foreigners arrested last year for committing crimes, more than 90 percent of them were living in the country legally, while illegal immigrants accounted for just 5.9 percent of the cases, unlike in the past, according to government white paper on crime released Friday.

As of January, visa overstayers taken into custody had fallen to 62,009, the lowest figure in two decades. The government attributed the decline to tightened scrutiny at immigration points and Japan’s prolonged economic doldrums that served as a disincentive to stay in the country.

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