Number of foreign nationals who entered Japan and number of Japanese nationals who departed Japan in the first half of 2020

Press release

October 9, 2020
Immigration Services Agency

  • 4,090,291 foreign nationals entered Japan during the first half of 2020 (Reiwa 2), 12,328,491 fewer than the same period of 2019 (Reiwa 1).
  • 686,867 foreign nationals received special landing permission (landing permission for cruise ship tourism, etc.), a decrease of 1,618,232 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 4,777,158, a decrease of 13,946,723 people compared to the previous year.
  • 2,990,396 Japanese nationals departed Japan during the first half of 2020 (Reiwa 2), 6,551,936 fewer than the same period of 2019 (Reiwa 1).
  • The number of immigrants, including immigrating foreign nationals and leaving/returning Japanese nationals, has been significantly lower since February 2020 (Reiwa 2) due to the increased protection measures against COVID-19 at ports of entry. After further preventative measures were put in place in April of that year, the number of immigrants decreased by over 99.0% compared to the same period of the previous year.

1. Number of foreign nationals who entered Japan

The total number of foreign national new arrivals and re-entrants who entered Japan in the first half of 2020 (Note 1) (Note 2) was 4,090,291, a decrease of 12,328,491 people compared to the same period of the previous year. The number of new arrivals was 3,446,986, a decrease of 11,538,184 people (77.0%) compared to the same period of the previous year (see Table 1). 

The total number of new foreign nationals who entered Japan by status of residence was (1) "Temporary Visitor" (3,348,817 people, a 77.2% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year) at the highest and making up 97.2% of the total, followed by (2) "Technical Intern Training (i) (b)" (38,206 people, a 50.3% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year), and then (3) "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" (10,636 people, a 51.7% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year) (see Table 2, Table 3).
The total number of foreign nationals by nationality/region was (1) the People’s Republic of China (799,730 people, a 77.6% decrease compared to the previous year) at the highest, followed by (2) the Republic of China (Taiwan) (644,920 people, a 71.8% decrease compared to the previous year), and then (3) the Republic of Korea (427,195 people, an 88.6% decrease compared to the previous year) (see Fig. 2, Table 4).

(Note 1) "Number of new arrivals" refers to the number of foreign nationals who were granted landing permission through a status of residence upon landing.
(Note 2) "Number of re-entrants" refers to the number of foreign nationals (including special permanent residents) who reside in Japan mid to long-term and have temporarily left and re-entered Japan.
(Note 3) 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 on 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," and "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.

2. Number of 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 the first half of 2020 was 686,867, a decrease of 1,618,232 people (70.2%) compared to the same period of the previous year (see Table 1, Table 10).
Of those receiving special landing permission, those being granted cruise ship tourism permissions were the most common at 119,960 people. Grouped by their country/region of origin, foreign nationals from the People's Republic of China were the most common (92,679 people; a decrease of 85.9% from the previous year) and made up 77.3% of the total, followed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) (18,348 people; a decrease of 87.9%), then the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong) (4,784 people; a decrease of 67.8%) (see Table 11).

(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 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 freedoms were being threatened, as stipulated by the Refugee Convention.

3. Total number of foreign nationals who entered Japan

4,777,158 foreign nationals entered Japan in the first half of 2020 (Note 12), a decrease of 13,946,723 people (74.5%) compared to the same period of the previous year (see Table 1).

(Note 12) "Total number of foreign nationals who entered Japan" is the sum of the "number of foreign nationals who entered Japan" and the "number of foreign nationals who received special landing permission." This indicates the total number of people who have entered Japan.

4. Japanese nationals who departed from Japan

2,990,396 Japanese nationals departed Japan in the first half of 2020, a decrease of 6,551,936 people (68.7%) compared to the same period of the previous year (see Table 1).

5. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the strengthening of border measures on February 1, 2020, with the application of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Article 5-1-14 ("designation of regions with entry ban") to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the total number of people entering and leaving the country, including returning nationals, decreased drastically (a 36.3% decrease seen in February 2020 compared to the previous year). After an expansion of regions with an entry ban as part of the further strengthening of border measures in April of the same year, the number of people entering and leaving the country decreased by over 99.0% compared to the previous year (April: 99.1% decrease; May: 99.5% decrease; June: 99.3% decrease compared to the previous year) (see Table 9).

(Note 13) Foreign nationals who have a record of stay in the People’s Republic of China Hubei Province within 14 days prior to the date of application for landing in Japan and foreign nationals with passports of the same country and issued by said ministry, barring exceptional circumstances, shall be deemed to fall under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act Article 5-1-14 ratified by the Minister of Justice (as determined by the National Security Council and approved by the Cabinet, January 31, 2020).
(Note 14) The following 49 countries/regions are designated as areas subject to refusal of entry based on the Immigration Control Act. Barring exceptional circumstances, foreign nationals with a record of stay in these regions within 14 days prior to the date of application are subject to an entry ban (as determined by the National Security Council and approved by the Cabinet, April 1, 2020).
(Note 15) The percentages displayed in this document are rounded down to the nearest tenth.

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