One in 10 Tokyo residents aged 20 to 29 is a foreigner, the Japanese government reported on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the year, Japan had some 748,000 foreigners in their 20s, representing 5.8% of their total and including those who had stayed for at least three months.
Japan has a total population of 127,707,259, Japanese and foreigners included. As of Jan. 1, foreign residents increased by 174,228 to 2,497,000, up 7.5% from the previous year. Of this figure, 42,000 live in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward.
Apparently, the ward’s native-born residents in their 20s dropped by 7% in a span of five years, while foreigners increased by 48%.
Regardless of age, Kumamoto Prefecture logged the highest rate of increase in foreign residents at 16.64%. This is partly because of major farms in the prefecture employing foreign technical interns, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
Interestingly, increases were documented in all prefectures except Nagasaki, where the number of shipbuilding workers periodically fluctuate.
According to Nikkei, Tokyo’s rising number of foreigners reflect the “rapidly shifting profile” of Japan’s working population.
While the country has long sought foreign talent with high-level skill sets in areas like finance, officials have also started working on providing opportunities for unskilled labor.
In 2019, foreign workers will be eligible to apply for work permits in five labor-starved sectors such as agriculture, construction, and nursing care. The country targets 500,000 by 2025.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that discussions on accepting more foreigners to address the labor shortage will be set this month.
“We have to make progress in preparing an environment to accept foreigners, such as considering which industries can accept them, strengthening the system to manage their residential status and enhancing Japanese language education,” Suga said.