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 White paper on crime 2004 Part1/Chapter2/Section2/1. 

1. Trend of foreign nationals entering Japan

  Foreign nationals newly entering Japan had been on the rise until2002,but decreased by12,348(0.3%)from2002to4,633,892in2003.The major reasons for decrease may be people's concern over terrorist attacks that might occur in response to the U.S.-led military action against Iraq and the severe acute respiratory syndrome(SARS)epidemic in Asia.Among foreign nationals newly entering Japan in2003,those from Asia accounted for more than60%same as in2002,followed by North America,Europe,Oceania,South America,and Africa.By nationality,those from South Korea exceeded the2002record high,reaching1,293,809persons(27.9%),followed by Taiwan with760,322persons(16.4%),the United States with596,494persons(12.9%),China(excluding Taiwan and Hong Kong;hereinafter the same in this subsection)with276,297persons(6.0%).Those from China had increased by about20%every year for the last three years until2002,but increase was only1.2%in2003.
  Among the foreign nationals newly entered Japan in2003,"temporary visitors"for sightseeing,etc.were the majority at91.9%,followed by"entertainers"(2.9%),"trainees"(1.4%),"long term residents"(0.7%),"pre-college students"(0.6%),and"college students"(0.5%).Estimated number of foreign nationals who illegally stay in Japan continued to decrease after a peak at298,646on May1,1993to219,418as of January1,2004(down1,134persons or0.5%from2003).By nationality,though based on estimates,South Korea had the largest share at21.2%,followed by China at15.3%and the Philippines at14.3%.Increase of Chinese was remarkable,up13.0%over2003(Source:Data by Immigration Bureau,Ministry of Justice).