Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ


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Registered foreign population in Japan hits record-high 2.21 million
Japan Today/Kyodo Saturday 11th July, 06:50 AM JST

The number of registered foreign residents in Japan hit a record high of 2,217,000 at the end of 2008, marking an increase of around 50% in the last decade, a report released by the Justice Ministry said Friday. The registered foreign population accounts for 1.74% of Japan’s total population, it said.

Chinese nationals accounted for the largest group of foreign residents at around 30%, or 655,000 people, followed by Koreans at 589,000, Brazilians at 313,000, Filipinos at 211,000 and Peruvians at 60,000. The number of permanent residents increased to 492,000, up 11.9%, and that of nonpermanent residents with skilled labor visas rose by 21.6%. Most foreign nationals resided in Tokyo, with 402,000 registered, followed by Aichi and Osaka prefectures.

Source: Ministry of Justice home page

COMMENT FROM DEBITO: Quite honestly, I’ve been in a funk these past few months, starting with the Nikkei Repatriation Bribe, adopted April 1 of this year. Given that I’ve come to the conclusion that the GOJ deliberately keeps on instituting a formal revolving-door labor policy towards NJ (keep them here temporarily, suck them dry of the best years of their working lives, take their taxes and pension monies, and then send them back as soon as they become inconvenient regardless of how much contribution they make), the study of Japan’s internationalization (and the looming demographic nightmare) has become a dismal science. I’ve got a pile of books I’m supposed to be reading, most of which come to the conclusion that Japan’s internationalization and multiculturalization is inevitable (an argument I too have made constantly this decade), and it’s now become winceworthy reading. Again, quite honestly, I’m just not sure the elites who govern Japan will allow people like us to save Japan from itself.

Then I see statistics like the above. NJ are still coming here, to stay, to live. More NJ Permanent Residents than ever before, and the numbers have only slowed from an average of 15% (2002-2006) to 12%.

I have a feeling that the numbers of registered NJ residents may actually drop for the first time in nearly five decades in 2009. But if even then, with all the GOJ’s disincentives towards immigration, numbers keep rising, then I’ll snap out of my funk and resume my arguments about the multicultural inevitability. It’s a shame that without tabulations in real time, we have to wait another year to find out.

Arudou Debito in Sapporo

11 comments on “Kyodo: Resident NJ numbers rise yet again in 2008, according to MOJ

  • How long until the demographic nightmare becomes a reality? I’m getting the impression that political/legal change only happens when something loudly and visibly falls apart.

  • Perhaps this will cheer you up a little… a possible sign of regime change coming this fall. Just perhaps… hopeful thinking… the DPJ will follow through on chopping down the power of the bureaucracy a wee bit…:

    “Ruling bloc loses majority; DPJ becomes top party in Tokyo assembly”, Japan Today, July 13

    “As the ruling bloc lost its majority, Gov Shintaro Ishihara may face difficulties in promoting his two major policies—Shinginko Tokyo’s reconstruction and relocation of the Tsukiji fish market.

    In the Tokyo assembly election, the DPJ called on the Tokyo metropolitan government to leave the management of Shinginko Tokyo and expressed opposition to the relocation of the Tsukiji market, saying the relocation site is contaminated. It has not shown a clear stance regarding the hosting of the 2016 Olympic Games in its manifesto.”

  • If you want a chilling version of the demographic nightmare that the future may hold, you may want to read “America Alone” by Mark Steyn. He crunches the numbers in a pretty alarming fashion, and the conclusions are not pretty.

    Basically, nations which have negative population growth are doomed if they try to maintain their present level of social care. Fewer and fewer productive people will be responsible for caring for more and more elderly.

  • From the list, the six enumerated nationalities make up 1,828,000. Leaving 389,000 as other.

    Since there had already been a sizable Korean and maybe Chinese population in Japan since before the war, it would be interesting to know if the increase in NJ residents is coming from these established groups.

    I agree that there is a sense that foreign labor in this country is designed as a revolving door.

  • KG – I did some digging late this afternoon, and the wiki on demographics in Japan has a chart.

    I said six nationalities, but it was in fact five. The group that has expanded the most here is Chinese. No wonder, maybe. It is the nationality with the most people in the world.

    Tokyo puts out a census of registered NJ by “ku” and “machi” for the entire Tokyo-to. Chinese, Korean, Phillipines, Brazilian, Peruvian (last two may be Japanese ni-sei BTW) are the tops.

    I feel that the increase has less to do with immigration than the possibility that “outsider” families have more children. This is true among unassimilated immigrants in America. And I am sure the rest of the world.

    While the Japanese worry about the so-called burden of children, the disenfranchised non-Japanese residents just life live, and go and have them. Ten, fifteen years later, it shows up sizably in the numbers.

  • KG said

    “2006 there were 598,219 Koreans registered so looks as though a few have fled.”

    Or died, or naturalized. These figures tell you nothing of importance.

  • Debito, on the same day MoJ announced that they had changed the criteria for special residency permit or teijusha visa, without even consulting to the public, which is required by the law.

    Do you have any comment on the new criteria or the procedure for changing?

  • So around 150,000 people naturalising over the past decade. Thanks for the link KG.

    I note that they don’t knock many applicants back.


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