The number of illegal foreign residents in Japan has decreased by nearly half over a five-year period from 2004, a government report has revealed.
According to the report released by the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry, about 130,000 foreigners were illegally living in Japan as of the beginning of this year, as compared with roughly 250,000 in 2004. The current figure is close to the 1990 level before a sharp increase in illegal foreign residents occurred.
"We largely succeeded in achieving our target," said an official of the immigration bureau. In 2003, the government approved a plan to halve the number of illegal foreigners from Jan. 1, 2004, to Jan. 1 this year, which calls for revisions to the immigration control system.Over the period, the number of foreigners who overstayed their visas dropped to 113,072 from 219,418, while the estimated number of those who illegally had entered Japan, including those who were smuggled by boat, has decreased from roughly 30,000 to between 15,000 and 23,000 as of Jan. 1, 2009.
February 19, 2009
From the Manichi Daily News: