Number of foreign workers in Japan hits record high at over 2 mil.

The number of foreign workers in Japan exceeded the 2 million mark for the first time ever last year.

The labor ministry on Friday released the latest result of its annual survey on employment of foreign workers.

The ministry said that as of the end of last October, the number of foreign workers in the country was 2,048,675 -- up more than 220,000, or 12.4 percent, from the previous year. The figure marked a record high for the 11th straight year.

By nationality, Vietnamese workers topped the list at 518,364, accounting for over a quarter of the total, followed by Chinese nationals at 397,918 and Philippine nationals at 226,846.

The number of Indonesian workers had the highest growth year on year, at 56 percent, followed by those from Myanmar at 49.9 percent and Nepal at 23.2 percent.

By residency status, 615,934 workers were ethnic Japanese or spouses of Japanese nationals, accounting for the largest group. There were 595,904 skilled professionals such as engineers and researchers, and 412,501 technical trainees.

Most of the foreign workers, or 552,399, were employed in the manufacturing sector, 320,755 in the service sector and 263,555 in the wholesale and retail sectors.

Labor ministry officials say growth in the number of foreign workers is high in sectors apparently hit by labor shortages, including construction and healthcare. They also say the overall rate of growth is now recovering to pre-pandemic levels.