Foreign Workers Rise to Record 1.82 Mil.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The number of foreign workers in Japan at the end of October 2022 rose 5.5% from a year before to 1,822,725, hitting a record high for the 10th straight year, the labor ministry said Friday.

The pace of growth accelerated from 0.2% for 2021 due to the easing of the government’s COVID-19 border controls.

By nationality, Vietnamese made up the largest group of foreign workers, at 462,384, followed by Chinese, at 385,848, Filipinos, at 206,050, and Indonesians, at 77,889. Vietnamese workers grew by 2.0% and Indonesian workers by a whopping 47.5%. Chinese workers fell 2.8%.

Of the total, the number of workers with visas for specialized and technical fields jumped 21.7%. Those with student visas dropped 3.3%, and workers with technical intern trainee visas slid 2.4%.

By industry, foreign workers in the manufacturing sector, who account for a quarter of the total, increased 4.2%, up for the first time in three years.

The number of foreign workers was up 3.9% in the wholesale and retail industry, after a slump in the preceding year. The lodging and restaurant industry posted a 2.7% increase.

Among the country’s 47 prefectures, only Gunma, north of Tokyo, saw a decrease in foreign workers, while Yamanashi, west of Tokyo, and Nagasaki and Oita in southwestern Japan logged hefty growth.