Number of foreign nationals entering and Japanese citizens departing Japan in 2018 (Heisei 30) (preliminary statistics)

Press release

January 23, 2019 (Heisei 31)
Immigration Services Agency

  • Approximately 30,100,000 foreign nationals entered Japan, an increase of about 2,670,000 people compared to the previous year and a record high.
  • Approximately 18,950,000 Japanese citizens departed from Japan, an increase of about 1,060,000 people compared to the previous year and a record high.

1. Foreign nationals who entered Japan

Around 30,100,000 foreign nationals (including re-entrants) entered Japan in 2018 (Note 1), an increase of about 2,670,000 people (+9.7%) compared to the same period of the previous year and a record high (Fig. 1, Table 1).
Of these, the number of new arrivals, which excludes re-entrants (Note 2), was about 27,570,000 foreign nationals, an increase of about 2,480,000 (+9.9%) compared to the same period of the previous year and a record high.
Per nationality/region, the Republic of Korea (around 7,330,000 people, a 5.5% increase compared to the previous year) is the highest, followed by the People's Republic of China (around 5,950,000 people, a 23.0% increase compared to the previous year), and the Republic of China (Taiwan) (around 4,410,000 people, a 4.2% increase compared to the previous year). Included in the top ten countries are the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries Thailand (roughly 1,110,000 people, an increase of around 14.8% compared to last year), Malaysia (roughly 450,000 people, an increase of around 7.2% compared to last year), the Philippines (roughly 440,000 people, an increase of around 12.0% compared to last year), and Singapore (roughly 430,000 people, an increase of around 8.7% compared to last year) (Fig. 2, Table 2).

Per status of residence for new entrants, "Temporary Visitor" was the highest (around 27,050,000 people, an increase of roughly 9.9% compared to the previous year) and made up 98.1% of the total, followed by "Technical Intern Training (i) (b)" (around 140,000 people, an increase of roughly 14.8% compared to the previous year), and "Student" (around 120,000 people, an increase of roughly 0.8% compared to the previous year) (Table 3).

(Note 1) The Ministry of Justice calculates the "number of new arrivals" as the number of foreign nationals who were granted landing permission with a status of residence of "Temporary Visitor" or "Student," and those who entered Japan as special permanent residents.

The "number of foreign national travelers visiting Japan" published by the Tourism Agency includes the number of cruise ship tourism landing permissions, port of entry landing permissions, and transit landing permissions. It excludes the number of foreign nationals and special permanent residents entering Japan with "Permanent Resident," "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National," "Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident," or "Long-Term Resident" status of residence.
(Note 2) "Re-entrants" refers to the foreign nationals who reside in Japan mid to long-term for work or studies and have re-entered Japan after temporarily departing for sightseeing, going home, or business.

2. Japanese nationals who departed from Japan

Roughly 18,950,000 Japanese citizens departed Japan in 2018, an increase of about 1,060,000 people (+6.0%) compared to the same period of the previous year and a record high (Fig. 1, Table 1).

3. Cruise ship tourism landing permissions

The total number of foreign nationals who were granted cruise ship tourism landing permission (Note 1) in 2018 was roughly 2,340,000 people, a decrease of around 110,000 (-4.6%) compared to the previous year (Fig. 3, Fig. 4, Table 4).
Per nationality/region of total number of foreign nationals granted cruise ship tourism landing permission, the People's Republic of China was the highest (around 1,900,000 people, a 6.5% decrease compared to the previous year and making up 81.3% of the total), followed by the Republic of China (Taiwan) (around 270,000 people, a 1.4% increase compared to the previous year), and Hong Kong (around 40,000 people, a 12.5% decrease compared to the previous year).

In 2018 (Heisei 30), about 13,300 ports of entry landing permissions (Note 2) were granted, an increase of about 100 (+0.9%) compared to last year, and about 5,200 transit landing permissions (Note 3) were granted, an increase of about 300 (+5.1%) compared to last year.

(Note 1) "Cruise ship tourism" landing permissions are granted for a period of no longer than 7 or 30 days by the Minister of Justice 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.
(Note 2) "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 3) "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.

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