Update: 09:41 | 03/02/2021
Vietnam has overtaken China as the nation with the highest number of workers in Japan despite pandemic impacts.
The number of Vietnamese workers in Japan last year reached 443,998, accounting for the largest number of foreign employees, according to 2020 statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
They were followed by the Chinese with 419,431 and the Filipinos with 184,750.
Passengers wait at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi to board a flight to Japan's Tokyo, September 19, 2020.
Despite the travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 crisis, Japan also reported a record 1.72 million foreign nationals working in the country last year, up 4 percent year-on-year.
In March last year, Japan stopped accepting Vietnamese guest workers as the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out. In October it eased travel restrictions on Vietnamese and some other nationals in a bid to revive its battered economy, allowing non-tourist arrivals.
Its embassy in Vietnam started to issue visas in late November for short-term commercial purposes such as market research, negotiations and signing contracts, cultural exchanges, training programs, and long-term stays.
But on December 28, Japan stopped new entries to halt the spread of new coronavirus variants that were spreading in the U.K., South Africa and other regions.
The number of Vietnamese workers going abroad last year was around 78,000, two times lower than in 2019, according to Vietnam's Overseas Labor Department.