Record 2.73 mil foreign residents registered living in Japan in 2018 – Nationwide
A record 2,731,093 foreigners were registered living in Japan at the end of 2018, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier, bolstered by a rising number of students and technical trainees, the Justice Ministry says. The government is expecting a further rise in foreign residents under a new visa system to be implemented next month with the aim of attracting more foreign workers amid a severe shortage of labour in the country.
Among registered residents, technical trainees numbered 328,360 or a jump by 19.7 percent from a year before, and foreign students stood at 337,000, up by 8.2 percent. Based on nationality, Chinese made up the largest group with 764,720, followed by South Koreans at 449,634. Vietnam, which sends the most technical trainees to Japan, ranked third with 330,835 residents, up 26.1 percent. The number of foreigners illegally staying in the country rose by 11.5 percent to 74,167 as of Jan 1, the ministry said. Of those, the largest group was South Koreans with 12,766, down 0.9 percent from a year earlier. Vietnamese came second at 11,131, a 64.7 percent jump, followed by Chinese at 10,119. Those with permanent residency constituted the largest group among registered residents at 771,568, up by 3 percent, although the number of registered Koreans with special permanent status decreased by 2.5 percent to 321,416.
Nagasaki observes season’s 1st blooming of ‘Somei’ cherry trees in Japan – Nagasaki
Cherry trees came into bloom Wednesday in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki, the first blooming of the “Somei Yoshino” variety in Japan this spring, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Officials confirmed at around 10 a.m. that five flowers had started to blossom from a cherry tree at an observatory of the agency in the city of Nagasaki. The bloom was four days earlier than usual but three days later than last year.
The flowers will be in full bloom in a week to 10 days, the observatory said. “The warmer-than-usual weather has most likely led to the cherry tree’s early blooming,” a local agency official said. The average temperature in the city of Nagasaki was 2.1 degrees higher than usual in late February at 10.8 C, and 1.8 degrees higher at 11.1 C in early March, according to the weather agency. On Wednesday, temperatures rose throughout Japan, with the mercury hitting 20.6 C in Kameyama in central Japan’s Mie Prefecture, 19.4 C in Hitachiomiya in eastern Japan’s Ibaraki Prefecture, and 19.1 C in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward.
Mount Fuji to expand voluntary fee to include all visitors, not just climbers – Shizuoka
The Mount Fuji World Cultural Heritage Council has decided to ask all people who visit the iconic mountain to pay a voluntary 1,000 yen fee, even if they do not plan to climb it.
Previously, the voluntary fee was collected from climbers who set off toward the summit from the 3,776-meter-high mountain’s 5th station, which is about half way up and accessible by cars and buses. The new policy will apply to all visitors who go past one of four 5th station points at the start of each hiking trail.
If the proposal is officially approved at a meeting on March 19, it will be implemented this summer. Payment of the fee will remain voluntary. The donations are used to preserve the environment, clean up trash and boost safety measures for climbers on the mountain which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.
According to data provided by Shizuoka Prefecture, the amount collected from climbers last year was 56.6 million yen on the Shizuoka side, with 50% of all hikers paying the fee. On the Yamanashi side, about 87.8 million yen was collected from 60% of the hikers who paid the fee.