National

Foreign population in Japan breaks record with 2.82 million

Kyodo

A record 2,829,416 foreign people were registered as residents at the end of June as more and more technical interns and workers enter Japan amid a severe labor shortage, government data showed Friday.

The figure was up 3.6 percent from the previous high set at the end of last year, according to the Immigration Services Agency.

Technical trainees totaled 367,709, eclipsing the 336,847 students. Other work-linked visa holders also saw a sharp rise in numbers, the agency said.

Those arriving on visas for engineers and international services stood at 256,414, up 13.6 percent, while 13,038 — up 17.9 percent — entered under visas for highly skilled professionals.

Those arriving with the new visa status created in April for blue-collar workers stood at just 20, though the number who acquired this status had risen to 616 as of Oct. 18.

Given that the government expected up to 47,550 people to arrive on this visa in fiscal 2019 ending in March, the system is apparently off to a slow start.

Those with permanent residency constituted the largest group of residents at 783,513, up 1.5 percent.

By nationality, Chinese made up the largest group with 786,241, followed by South Koreans at 451,543 and Vietnamese at 371,755.

Foreign populations rose across the 47 prefectures. Tokyo is home to the biggest concentration of foreign nationals at 581,446.

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