The number of foreigners entering Japan jumped about six-fold from the previous year to 25.83 million in 2023, following the end of COVID-19 border control measures in April, data from the Immigration Services Agency showed Friday.

With the return of inbound tourists, foreign entries to Japan have recovered to 80 percent of their highest-ever recorded level of 31.19 million, logged in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the data showed.

The short-term stay visa, issued for purposes such as tourism and business trips, was the most common permit to be issued at around 23.13 million, surging eight times from the previous year.

About 180,000 foreign nationals received the technical intern training visa, the second highest, followed by student visa at around 130,000, according to the data.

Entrants with visas for engineer/specialist in humanities/international services, and specified skilled workers, launched in 2019 to compensate for labor shortages in Japan, also contributed to the surge in foreign entries with over 40,000 each.

Foreign nationals with those visas are allowed to work in Japan over a mid- to long-term period.

By country and region, South Koreans were the national group to be issued the highest number of visas at around 6.81 million, a seven-fold increase from the previous year, followed by entrants from Taiwan at around 4.07 million and Hong Kong at about 2.03 million.

The number of Japanese nationals who went overseas in 2023 more than tripled from a year earlier to over 9.62 million, but the figure was less than half of the record 20.08 million logged in 2019.

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Foreign visitors to Japan in 2023 jump over sixfold to 25.07 mil.