As the revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act enacted last December took effect in April, the government set in motion a newly created visa status designed to admit foreign workers with certain skills or knowledge to make up for a serious domestic workforce shortage. Accordingly the Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau was reorganized and expanded into the Immigration Services Agency.
As of the end of last December, about 2.73 million foreign people were living in Japan. The number of foreign residents in postwar Japan has continued to increase almost consistently. Although the number of foreign residents temporarily dropped after the global economic crisis in 2008 and the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, it has again begun to grow significantly since 2013. Today, foreign residents account for about 2 percent of Japan’s population.