1 in 10 Millennials In Tokyo Isn’t Japanese, And The Number’s Only Going Up

Japan’s declining native population means new opportunities for foreign workers.

According to the Japanese government, foreigners now make up one-tenth of Tokyo’s 20-29 age bracket.


At the beginning of 2018, Japan had approximately 748,000 20-something foreign residents who made up 5.8% of country’s total foreigner population (approx. 2,497,000 people).


As many as 42,000 of these younger residents live in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward alone. Over the past 5 years, Shinjuku has experienced a 48% increase in foreign residents, while the number of Japanese residents in the same age bracket dropped by 7%.

Photo by Wataru Ito


Tokyo’s rising number of foreigners reflects a shift in the country’s working population. For years, Japan has reached across borders to find employees for high skill level positions like finance, but it is now working toward providing foreigners with opportunities in unskilled labor.


According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, this is being done to address Japan’s labor shortage that has resulted from Japan’s declining population.

Japan’s population has decreased for the ninth year in a row. This year the working-age population between (15 to 64 years ) has dropped below 60% for the first time ever.


To recruit more foreign employees, Japan will be changing its work permit eligibility starting in 2019. Next year, foreign workers will be able to apply for work permits in agriculture, construction, nursing care, and two other sectors that are most in need of laborers.

“We have to make progress in preparing an environment to accept foreigners, such as considering which industries can accept them, strengthening the system to manage their residential status and enhancing Japanese language education.” — Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga


The goal is to hire over 500,000 foreign workers by 2025.

Source: Nikkei