Japan Data

Number of Japanese Living Abroad Drops for Fourth Consecutive Year


The number of Japanese people living in other countries dropped again in 2023, despite the easing of travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Los Angeles continued to have the largest number of Japanese residents.

Overseas travel by Japanese nationals has made a remarkable recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast though, the total number of Japanese residing abroad is continuing to drop. Estimates as of October 1, 2023, showed that the number had decreased year-on-year by 14,950 (1.1%) and marked the fourth straight year of decline. By country, 32.1% of Japanese living overseas were located in the United States and 7.9% were residing in China, with these two countries alone accounting for 40% overall.

According to a statistical survey of Japanese nationals living abroad conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based on residence notifications submitted to overseas diplomatic offices (including embassies and consulates), the total number was 1,293,565. Of those, long-term residents fell by 4.3% from the previous year to 718,838, while permanent residents rose 3.2% to 574,727. By region, Asia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, South America, North America, and Western Europe all saw decreases. Meanwhile, the total rose in Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, and Central America. According to statistics since 1989, the number of Japanese residents overseas continued increasing up to 2019, but began falling from 2020 due to the worsening global pandemic.

Estimated Number of Japanese Living Overseas

By city in 2023, the Greater Los Angeles area had the largest number of Japanese residents, with 64,457 (accounting for 5.0% of the total). This was followed by Bangkok with 51,407 (4.0%), the New York Metropolitan area with 37,414 (2.9%) and Shanghai with 37,315 (2.9%). A MOFA survey on the number of Japanese companies operating overseas (as of October 1, 2022) revealed 1,245 companies under the jurisdiction of the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, 5,856 companies under the Embassy of Japan in Thailand, 658 under the Consulate-General of Japan in New York, and 22,729 under the Consulate-General of Japan in Shanghai. This would seem to indicate that many Japanese nationals are working for Japanese companies overseas.

Japanese Residents by City

Due to security reasons, the figures for Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have not been made public and were not included in the estimates.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: Santa Monica coastline, near Los Angeles. © Pixta.)

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