Photo/IllutrationOverseas students are among the customers at a Vietnamese cafe in Tokyo's Shin-Okubo district. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The number of foreign nationals living in Japan came to a record 2,637,251, accounting for 2 percent of the population.

The preliminary figure as of June 30 was the highest since record-keeping began in 1959.

The Justice Ministry said Sept. 19 that the number of foreign nationals in Japan soared by 75,403 from the end of 2017.

Foreign students and technical trainees accounted for the bulk of the increase.

Japan's total population, as of July 1, was 126.59 million, according to the internal affairs ministry.

Government plans to create a new residential status to provide greater opportunities for non-Japanese to work in Japan from next April to help counter workforce shortage problems will likely bolster foreign resident numbers.

The number of permanent residents, 759,139, accounted for the largest proportion of foreign resident population. The figure is up by 9,948 from the end of last year.

Special permanent residents totaled 326,190, proportionately down by 3,632.

Foreign students totaled 324,245, up by 12,740, and 285,776 were people registered as technical trainees, up by 11,543.

By nationality, Chinese accounted for nearly 30 percent of the foreign population at 741,656, followed by 452,701 South Koreans, 291,494 Vietnamese, 266,803 Filipinos and 196,781 Brazilians. The number of Vietnamese increased by around 11 percent from the end of 2017.