Number of foreign residents in Japan hits new high

Number of foreign residents in Japan hits new high

The number of foreign residents in Japan has hit a new record high, but there are also more cases of people overstaying their visas.

The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau says about 2.56 million foreigners were living in Japan at the end of last year.

That's up 7.5 percent from the year before and is the highest figure since record-taking began in 1959.

Chinese are the largest group with more than 730,000 residents, followed by about 450,000 South Koreans. The number of Vietnamese residents surged 31.2 percent last year to more than 262,000.

The bureau says the number of foreigners who overstayed their visas increased for the 4th straight year to about 66,500.

In many of these cases, people entered Japan on tourist or other types of short-term visas, but stayed in the country after finding work.

Officials plan to intensify their crackdown on illegal foreign residents. They are also encouraging visa violators to voluntarily visit an immigration office. Under the "departure order" system, they will be able to leave Japan without being detained.