Flash report: Number of foreign nationals who entered Japan and Japanese Nationals who departed Japan in 2019 (Reiwa 1)

Press release

January 31, 2020 (Reiwa 2)
Immigration Services Agency

  • Approximately 31,190,000 foreign nationals entered Japan, an increase of about 1,090,000 people compared to the previous year and a record high
  • Approximately 4,960,000 foreign nationals received special landing permission (landing permission for cruise ship tourism, etc.), a decrease of about 400,000 people compared to the previous year
  • The total number of foreign nationals who entered Japan, including the number of foreign nationals who received special landing permission, was approximately 36,150,000, an increase of about 680,000 people compared to the previous year and a record high
  • Approximately 20,080,000 Japanese citizens departed from Japan, an increase of about 1,130,000 people compared to the previous year and a record high

1. Foreign nationals who entered Japan

The number of foreign nationals who entered Japan in 2019 (including those who re-entered the country; see Notes 1 through 3) was roughly 31,190,000 people, an increase of 1,090,000 (~3.6%) compared to the previous year. Excluding those who re-entered the country, the total number of new arrivals was roughly 28,400,000 people, an increase of 830,000 (3.0%) compared to the previous year and a record high (see Fig. 1, Table 1).

The total number of foreign nationals by nationality/region was (1) the People's Republic of China (around 7,420,000 people, a 24.7% increase compared to the previous year) at the highest, followed by (2) the Republic of Korea (around 5,340,000 people, a 27.1% decrease compared to the previous year), and (3) the Republic of China (Taiwan) (around 4,520,000 people, a 2.6% increase compared to the previous year) (see Fig. 2, Table 2).

The total number of new foreign nationals who entered Japan by status of residence was (1) "Temporary Visitor" (around 27,810,000 people, a roughly 2.8% increase compared to the previous year) at the highest and making up 97.9% of the total, followed by (2) "Technical Intern Training (i) (b)" (around 170,000 people, a roughly 21.3% increase compared to the previous year), and (3) "Student" (around 120,000 people, a roughly 2.1% decrease compared to the previous year) (see Table 3).

(Note 1) The "number of new arrivals" published by the Immigration Services Agency refers to the number of foreign nationals who were granted landing permission through a status of residence upon landing and those who are special permanent residents.
(Note 2) The goal of "doubling the number of foreign nationals visiting Japan to approximately 40 million by 2020, and tripling that number to approximately 60 million by 2030" (as part of the "Vision for Tourism to Support the Japan of Tomorrow" determined by the Vision for Tourism to Support the Japan of Tomorrow Conceptual Conference, held March 30, 2016), refers to the "Number of Foreign Nationals Visiting Japan" (as published by the Japan National Tourism Organization). This total (of foreign nationals entering Japan) excludes those who hold the "Permanent Resident," "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National," "Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident," "Long-Term Resident," and "Special Permanent Resident" statuses of residence. The total number represents the sum of foreign nationals who were granted landing permissions for cruise ship tourism, stopped at ports of entry, or traveled through or stopped briefly in the country.
(Note 3) The "number of re-entrants" refers to the number of foreign nationals who reside in Japan mid to long-term for work or studies and had re-entered Japan after temporarily departing for sightseeing, going home, or business.

2. Foreign nationals who received special landing permission

The total number of foreign nationals who were granted special landing permission (see Notes 4 through 11) in 2019 was roughly 4,960,000 people, a decrease of around 4,000,000 (7.5%) compared to the previous year (see Fig. 1, Table 1).

Of those receiving special landing permission, those being granted cruise ship tourism permissions were the most common, at about 2,030,000 people. Going by their country/region of origin, foreign nationals from the People's Republic of China were the most common (around 1,600,000 people; a decrease of 16% from the previous year), followed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) (around 280,000 people; an increase of 4.4%), then the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong) (around 40,000 people; a decrease of 8.8%) (see Fig. 4, Table 4).

(Note 4) "Special Landing Permission" allows for foreign nationals to enter Japan, but does not confer a status of residence. These permissions include "Cruise Ship Tourism," "Port of Entry Permission," "Transit Permission," "Crew Member Landing Permission," "Emergency Permission," "Distress Permission," as well as "Temporary Asylum."
(Note 5) "Cruise Ship Tourism" landing permissions are granted for a period of no longer than 7 or 30 days by the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency to foreign nationals arriving on cruise ships (passenger vessels) for the purposes of sightseeing, on the condition that they return to their ship before it departs. There are two types of landing permission for cruise ship tourism: one-time permission and unrestricted permission. The figures published in this document are the numbers of foreign nationals who have received either of these permissions.
(Note 6) "Port of Entry" landing permissions are granted to foreign nationals who are stopping in Japan while on their way to another foreign country, for the purpose of shopping/resting/etc. near their point of entry (airport or harbor), for a period not exceeding 72 hours.
(Note 7) "Transit" landing permissions are granted to foreign nationals who are arriving on a vessel that is making stops at multiple ports of entry, allowing them to travel by land for the purpose of sightseeing, later rejoining their vessel at a different point of entry. This also applies to foreign nationals who are stopping in Japan while on their way to another foreign country, and must transfer from one point of entry (airport or harbor) to another in order to continue their journey. These permissions are granted for 15-day and 3-day periods, respectively.
(Note 8) "Crew Member" landing permissions are granted for a period of either 7 or 15 days to foreign nationals who are members of staff on cruise ships, etc. for the purpose of resting near their point of entry (airport or harbor). There are two types of landing permission for crew members: one-time permission and unrestricted permission. The figures published in this document are the numbers of foreign nationals who have received either of these permissions.
(Note 9) "Emergency" landing permissions are granted to foreign nationals (either passengers or crew members) who require urgent treatment for an illness, injury, or other physical ailment. This landing permission remains in effect until the ailment is resolved.
(Note 10) "Distress" landing permissions are granted to foreign nationals whose vessels are stranded/capsized or must make an emergency landing, etc. and who require first-aid or other emergency services. This landing permission is granted for a period of up to 30 days.
(Note 11) "Temporary Asylum" landing permissions are granted (when appropriate) to foreign nationals fleeing from an area where their existence, security, personal liberties and other such freedoms were being threatened, as stipulated by the Refugee Convention.

3. Total number of foreign nationals who entered Japan

Around 36,150,000 foreign nationals entered Japan in 2019 (Note 12), an increase of about 680,000 people (~1.9%) compared to the same period of the previous year and a record high (see Fig. 1, Table 1).

(Note 12) The "number of foreign nationals who entered Japan" and the "number of foreign nationals who received special landing permission" are both considered as part of the total number of people who had entered Japan, and are included in the total count presented for the year.

4. Japanese nationals who departed from Japan

Roughly 20,080,000 Japanese nationals departed Japan in 2019, an increase of about 1,130,000 people (~5.9%) compared to the same period of the previous year and a record high (see Fig. 1, Table 1).

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