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News Release

The Growth of Population Movement in Japan

December 18, 2006


Since 2000, population movement between regions of Japan and between Japan and other countries has been growing. This movement takes three major forms: (i) a movement from provincial regions to the major cities, (ii) a rise in the number of foreign nationals living in Japan and (iii) a rise in the number of Japanese nationals going to live overseas. This report analyzes the reasons behind this growth of population movement.

First, the movement from provincial areas to major cities is characterized by a concentration of population in Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture. By age, movement of those aged 25-69 is accelerating. This is due to the migration of labor to major cities, which offer a concentration of business enterprises and, consequently, many opportunities for employment.

Second, Chinese nationals have made the greatest contribution to the rise in the number of foreign nationals living in Japan. Some 60% of Chinese nationals in Japan are in their 20s, and the rise in the number of Chinese nationals in Japan is not concentrated in any particular region, but is fairly even across the country. Another recent trend is that the number of Chinese nationals coming to Japan to "study/attend school" or undergo "training" is rising.

Third, a greater number of Japanese men are going to live overseas than women, and the age range of those moving overseas, which has traditionally centered on ages 20-29 has widened to include ages 30-39. By region, the most significant growth has been in the number of those working for private business enterprises in Asia. As Japanese enterprises have expanded their overseas business, the demand for Japanese staff to work locally has grown.

Greater population movement serves to enhance Japan's overall productivity by promoting efficiency in the distribution of human resources. In the future, as population decline further restricts the supply of human resources, further promoting this kind of population movement and increasing overall national productivity will be an important means of enhancing Japan's competitiveness.

For more information on the content of this report, please contact Hideki Matsumura, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.

Tel: 03-3288-4524

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