A record number of Japanese nationals were living as permanent residents abroad in 2022 despite a decline in the overall number of people residing overseas, a recent Foreign Ministry survey showed.

In the survey released in December, 557,034 Japanese nationals were permanent residents overseas, with the figure steadily increasing in the past two decades and nearly doubling from 285,705 in 2002.

But the total number of long-term residents declined 6.9% from the year before to 751,481, as many Japanese living abroad returned to Japan amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the survey. In total, the number of Japanese nationals living abroad — both long-term residents and permanent residents — was about 1.3 million, down 2.7% from the previous year.