Photo/Illutration The Tokyo metropolitan government building, upper left, in the capital’s Shinjuku district (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Residents of Tokyo who moved out of the capital in July outnumbered those who moved in as people avoided migrating to the metropolis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government data shows the outflow of population surpassed the inflow in Tokyo by 2,522, the largest since the current form of counting began in July 2013.

The outflow figure for May also exceeded the inflow by 1,069.

This suggests that people in other areas are hesitant about setting up home in Tokyo because of a flareup in novel coronavirus infections.

With teleworking taking root, fewer people are migrating to the capital to start or change careers.

University students are also increasingly opting to live with their parents rather than move to the metropolitan area to attend classes, which are now mainly done remotely.

The capital is likely to continue to experience a greater outflow than an inflow as people become more interested in relocating to rural areas to avoid the pandemic, some experts said.

“More people than ever are checking whether companies offer a remote working option when they are job hunting,” said Yutaka Okada, a senior researcher at Mizuho Research Institute who is well-versed in issues of population and regional revitalization. “The trend of the outflow surpassing the inflow in Tokyo is likely here to stay.”

Figures compiled by the internal affairs ministry based on residence registration show that 31,257 people moved out of the capital in July, almost the same as a year earlier.

The number of people moving to Tokyo fell by about 13 percent year on year to 28,735 in the same month.

Until this past April, the inflow to the capital had exceeded the outflow since July 2013.

Other prefectures in July also experienced more people moving out than moving in. Kanagawa's outflow surpassed the inflow by 679, while Aichi's outflow exceeded the inflow by 587.

The figures seem to reflect a trend of people refraining from migrating to big cities.

Tokyo’s neighboring prefectures of Ibaraki, Chiba and Gunma saw more people moving in than moving out in the same month. The outflow of population in Chiba dropped by nearly 20 percent from a year earlier, indicating that fewer people migrated to Tokyo.

The same trend was also seen in other prefectures outside the greater Tokyo area. In Hokkaido, people moving in outnumbered those moving out by 1,534. Osaka's inflow exceeded the outflow by 1,036, and Fukuoka's inflow surpassed the outflow by 747.