The number of foreigners entering Japan in 2021 plunged by 3.95 million, or a record 91.8%, from a year earlier to 353,118, the Immigration Services Agency said on Friday.
The annual figure was the lowest since 1966, when some 340,000 foreigners entered. The drop was the result of strict border control measures prompted by the new coronavirus pandemic.
The annual number set a record for seven consecutive years until 2019. In 2020, a decrease of 26.88 million was marked.
Of the total for 2021, 151,726 foreigners entered Japan for the first time, 3.43 million less, or 95.8%, from the previous year.
There were 37,183 new arrivals in January, when restrictions on the entry of foreigners for business were relaxed until the middle of the month. The number plunged to 1,467 in February after the easing was suspended.
In July and August, when the Tokyo Olympics were held, 47,126 and 17,228 foreigners entered Japan, respectively.
The number of new entrants from Vietnam totaled 24,623 in 2021, the largest group by country or region, followed by 19,374 from China and 13,631 from the United States.
By visa status, those on short-stay visas numbered 71,771, including athletes and others related to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, followed by 23,423 on technical training visas and 11,651 on student visas.