23:04 16 November 2016
TOKYO, Nov. 16, Kyodo
The total number of foreign visitors to Japan is expected to reach around 24 million by the end of this year, Japan Tourism Agency head Akihiko Tamura said Wednesday.
The estimated total number of foreign visitors to Japan reached 20.11 million at the end of October, up 23.3 percent from a year earlier, topping last year’s record 19.74 million and surpassing the 20 million line for the first time, the agency said.
The Japanese government has said Tokyo is trying to increase the annual number of foreign visitors to 40 million in 2020, when the capital hosts the Olympic Games and Paralympics.
By country and regions, Chinese ranked top at 5.51 million, up 28.7 percent, followed by South Koreans and Taiwanese with a rise of 29.2 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively.
In October alone, 2.13 million foreigners visited Japan, up 16.8 percent, due to a rise in international flights and port calls by cruise ships, and a long holiday in China on the occasion of the country’s founding day in the reporting month.
The agency also said the number of duty-free shops in Japan rose to 38,653 as of Oct.1, climbing around 10 percent from 35,202 shops logged on April 1.