Number of foreign workers in Japan at record high

Number of foreign workers in Japan at record high

Government figures show the number of foreign workers in Japan hit a record high of more than 1.27 million last year.

The labor ministry said on Friday that 1,278,670 foreigners worked at Japanese companies as of October 31st. That's up 194,000, or 18 percent, from a year earlier and the highest since data-taking began in 2008.

By nationality, Chinese workers topped the list at 372,000. Vietnamese came second with 240,000, up nearly 40 percent from 2016. Filipinos came in third at 146,000.

The largest group of 385,000 foreigners worked in the manufacturing sector.

They were followed by 189,000 workers in cleaning and other service sector and 166,000 in wholesale and retail businesses, including convenience stores and supermarkets.

By residential status, 459,000 foreign workers were of Japanese descent or spouses of Japanese. Students came second with 259,000, up about 24 percent from 2016. Technical interns came in third at 257,000.

The labor ministry says a shortage of workers combined with Japan's economic recovery have pushed businesses to hire student part-timers and technical interns.