The number of foreign nationals residing in Japan hit a record high of over 3.2 million in 2023, government data has shown, as more workers entered to meet demand created by the country's labor shortage.

As of the end of June, 3,223,858 foreigners resided in Japan, up 148,645 from the end of December 2022, the Immigration Services Agency announced Friday.

Significant increases were seen in the number of specified skilled workers, who are immediately able to take on jobs in designated industries without the need for training, as well as trainees taking part in the country's technical internship program.

By residential status, permanent residents were the largest group at 880,178, up 1.9% from December, the data showed.

By type of working visa, technical interns totaled 358,159, up 10.2%, and engineers, specialists in humanities and international services, including foreign language teachers, rose 10.9% to 346,116.

The number of specified skilled workers rose to 173,101, up 32.2%.

By nationality, China has the most nationals in Japan, followed by Vietnam and South Korea.

The number of arrivals of foreigners, excluding re-entry by residents but including tourists, increased in the first half of 2023 to 10,154,249, up about 9.77 million from a year earlier, due to the easing of border restrictions associated with COVID-19.

The number has recovered to about 70% of the pre-pandemic level, compared with the figure in the first half of 2019.

In the first half of this year, over 3.61 million Japanese nationals left the country for reasons including tourism, an increase of about 2.99 million from a year earlier.

There were 79,101 foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas in Japan as of July 1, according to calculations based on immigration records.