Tokyo Foreigners


Tokyo 's foreign population is increasing steadily over the past 20 years. As of January 1, 2007, the percentage of foreigners in Tokyo was 2.93% (registered foreigners only), which was an increase of 1.8% over the previous year. Registered foreigners are those who are in the country legally. If the illegal foreign population is also to be taken into account, then the percentage of foreigners would be much higher. This information comes from a survey of the Tokyo population by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.


Foreigners come to Tokyo for various reasons. As Japan is the world's second largest economy, Tokyo hosts several multi-national companies. As a result many foreign business-people make Tokyo their home. Several foreign engineers and technicians also come and live here to work in the many Japanese high-tech industries. A large number of foreigners, mainly from Korea , China and the Philippines, have made Tokyo their home to work in factories, as domestic help, or as “entertainers”. Many young graduates from the West come to Tokyo to work as English teachers. Then there are the tourists who come in large numbers, with the number increasing every year.


Generally, foreigners are accepted well by the local population of Tokyo . Most Japanese speak at least a little English so it's not very difficult for a foreigner to get by. One of the few places where foreigners might face a little difficulty is in looking for an accommodation. In such cases it is best to have a Japanese person accompany you, which makes things easier.


The Tokyo Metropolitan Government offers consultation and counseling services through their Foreign Residents' Advisory Center to foreigners facing any kind of problem. Consultation is provided on issues related to traffic accidents, insurance, discrimination, or any other problem of daily life in the city. Advice is also given on matters related to Japanese customs, traditions, and culture. The consultation and counseling services of the Advisory Center are offered completely free of cost and in strict confidentiality. Available languages are English, Korean, and Chinese.


The address of the Advisory Center is:


The Foreign Residents' Advisory Center

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Bldg. No1,

3F 2-8-1 Nishi Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku

Tel: 03(5320)7744

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