The net population influx into Tokyo accelerated in 2022 for the first time in three years as social and economic activities have picked up in Japan amid receding worries about the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Monday.

Marking the strengthening of Tokyo's centralization, people moving into the Japanese capital outnumbered those leaving by 38,023 last year, up sharply from a record-low 5,433 in 2021 amid the pandemic.

The number of people moving into Tokyo totaled 439,787, up 19,620 from a year earlier, while 401,764 people left Tokyo, down 12,970, according to migration statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

People wearing face masks walk in front of JR Tokyo Station in the Japanese capital during the morning commuting hours of Jan. 20, 2023, amid the spread of coronavirus infections. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The net influx into the broader metropolitan area covering Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures also rose to 99,519 in 2022, up from a record-low 81,699 the previous year.

The trend comes despite the central government's aim to balance the inflow and outflow of the population in the Tokyo area by fiscal 2027.

In the pre-pandemic year of 2019, people moving into Tokyo outnumbered those moving out by 82,982. But as telecommuting became more common with the spread of the virus, the number of individuals choosing to live outside of Tokyo grew, slowing the capital's net population influx to 31,125 in 2020 and 5,433 in 2021.