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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Some Statistics on Foreigners Entering Japan

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

What a delight to find the website for the Statistics Bureau of the Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication which has an entire webpage with links to easy to read Excel spreadsheets in Japanese and English with information about Japan's population including the foreign population in Japan and the number of Japanese living abroad.

Why was I so happy to find this?  Because I made an assertion about the diversity of the foreign population here in Japan a few posts back.  That was an opinion (also known as a guess or a feeling) because when I was writing I had no data on hand  to back up my argument. So allow me to stop being lazy and let's look at some facts.

At the bottom of the Statistics Bureau webpage is the spreadsheet Foreigners Who Entered Japan by Status of Residence in 2013.

Most of the foreigners who entered were (no surprise here) temporary visitors or tourists.  But there are 27 other visa categories, which gives you a pretty good idea of why these migrant/expats came to Japan.  The data is broken down by region (not country) so you can see things like how many Asian diplomats versus European or South American diplomats, how many professors from Africa versus Oceania, and how many inter company transfers from all regions-

I will let you peruse the spreadsheet at your leisure, but here are a few things I found noteworthy:

Asia:  11 million foreigners entering Japan and most arrived from other parts of Asia:  nearly 9 million people from China, Korea and other parts of Asia of which over 7 million were temporary visitors.  That is 8 times the number of foreigners entering from North America and Europe (both at about 1 million).  

What are the top 5 visa categories (excluding temporary visitors and long-term/permanent residents) for Asian nationals coming to Japan?

College Students (246,853)
Exceptional Permanent Residents (134,506)
Spouses or Children of Japanese (131,814)
Specialist in Humanities (126,441)
Dependents (107,884)

North America:  Slightly over a million people from Canada, Mexico and the US of which 800,000 were temporary visitors.

What are the top 5 visa categories (excluding temporary visitors and long-term/ permanent residents) for North American nationals?

Specialist in Humanities (15,756)
Spouses or Children of Japanese (14,410)
Instructors (10,304)
Dependents (9,226)
Entertainers (7,863)

Europe:  A little under a million of which 820,000 were temporary visitors.

What are the top 5 visa categories (excluding temporary visitors and long-term/permanent residents) for European nationals?

Entertainers (16,409)
Specialist in Humanities (14,700)
Spouses or Children of Japanese (12,762)
College students (11,456)
Dependents (9,909)

Three categories make the top 5 for each region:  Children and spouses of Japanese, Specialist in Humanities, and Dependents (spouse and children of a resident with a working or student visa).  A lot of marriage migration/family reunification from all regions. 

What is a Specialist in Humanities/International Services?  It's a very broad category.  This site has these definitions:  "working in legal, economic, social fields or in the human science" and it requires a university degree or 10 years experience and "working in translation, interpretation, language instruction, public relations, international trade, fashion design, interior design, product development." This category excludes engineers, lawyers, interns, professors and doctors, 

What is an Instructor?  That was a category that made the top 5 only for North Americans. This is the category for "Instruction of foreign languages or other education at elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, etc."  So these are language  and school teachers.  But interestingly enough there were more North American language instructors  (10,304) than there were college students (6,846).  There was one category, however, where North Americans made a greater contribution of human talent compared to the other regions:  Legal and Accounting Services (615 and no other region came close to that number).

Why so many Entertainers from Europe and North America?    I have no idea and could not find any answers on the Net.  Does anyone know what that's all about?

And last but not least what about those company expats?  Here are the numbers of Intra-company Transfer visas for each region:

Asia:  34,423
North America:  6,726
Europe:  9,351


Anonymous said...

You just touched on the dark underbelly of Japan... "Entertainer" in Japanese visa parlance can mean anything from opera singers to sex workers disguised as dancers and bathhouse attendants...

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Ah, I wondered about that one.

May I say that the European in my house was rather shocked to see so many "Entertainers" from Europe.