Share of foreign residents in Okinawa increasing
The estimated population of Okinawa Prefecture as of Oct. 1, 2017, was 1,443,802 that is 3,889 more than the previous year. Of the total, Japanese nationals comprised 1,429,944 that is an increase of 2,361, and residents of other nationalities numbered 13,858 that increased by 1,528 from a year ago.
Okinawa is one of the very few prefectures in Japan where the population is increasing. However, it is expected to peak around 2025, and then start to decline. The number of Japanese nationals in the prefecture increased 0.7% in 2011, while in 2017, it decreased 0.2%. On the other hand, the number of people of other nationalities increased 17.6% in 2015, and 13.4% in 2016, and the share of people of foreign nationality has increased accordingly, riing from 0.56% in 2011 to 0.96% in 2017.
The population numbers do not count U.S. military-related persons and their families.
The reason for the increase in the number of foreigners is mainly the influx of foreign students and technical interns.
According to the survey by Ministry of Justice regarding the nationality of foreign residents, people from Nepal increased from 117 at the end of December 2010 to 1,614 at the end of June 2017. But because of a crackdown on the abuse of students visas by Nepali students, their number remained nearly at the same level in 2016 and 2017.