Foreign worker tally tops 486,000

The number of foreign workers employed in Japan stood at 486,398 at the end of October, including 118,488 in Tokyo, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Friday.

The total is more than double a previous estimate of 223,000 based on voluntary reports by employers in June 2006, before the revised employment promotion law took effect in October 2007, obliging employers to file reports on foreign employees.

By prefecture, Tokyo had the largest number of foreign workers, followed by Aichi with 60,326, Shizuoka with 31,453 and Kanagawa with 27,473.

Temporary and contract workers accounted for 33.6 percent of total foreign employees, suggesting many of them, primarily in manufacturing, have lost their jobs amid the recession.