Eleven towns in Hokkaido experience population increases; hiring of foreign employees help boost population growth rate at resort areas

The Kutchan Town resort district bustling with foreign tourists

The Hokkaido population based on the Basic Resident Register announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on August 5 showed a Japanese citizen population decrease in 175 out of the 179 Hokkaido municipalities. However, looking at the total population including foreign nationals registered as residents, the overall result was a population increase in 11 municipalities, such as Sapporo City and Shimukappu Village. An increase in foreign nationals working at international resort areas is thought to be the main cause, with a framework of foreign labor filling in the decrease in the Japanese population.
In Shimukappu Village, in addition to the Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, the hotel “Club Med Tomamu – Hokkaido” also opened in December 2017. The boost in new employment opportunities attracted workers with a focus on foreign staff. The total population there was 105 residents higher than last year, and the growth rate was the highest nationwide at 6.96%. Home to the world-famous Niseko ski resort region, the town of Kutchan experienced an overall increase of 250 residents with both Japanese citizens and foreign nationals combined in the count. But counting the foreign national population only, it is the nationwide top with a 520 foreign resident increase.