The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been increasing at the fastest pace this year, with more than 10 million already visiting the country as of June 5, the head of the Japan Tourism Agency says.
It is the fourth consecutive year that the figure has topped 10 million, with the milestone reached this year at the earliest point on record, agency commissioner Akihiko Tamura said at a press conference Wednesday.
If the number continues to increase at the current pace, the annual figure is expected to top 20 million this year, beating the record 19.74 million foreign visitors Japan saw in 2015.
The government-run Japan National Tourism Organization estimates 1,893,600 foreigners visited Japan last month, up 15.3% from a year earlier and a record for May.
In the January-May period, foreign visitors totaled 9,728,200, up 29.1% from the corresponding period a year earlier, as Japan remained a popular destination especially among travelers from China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
The organization said increased flight and cruise ship services to Japan were supporting the tourism boom.
Higher numbers of tourists from Australia, Europe and the United States also pushed up the total, helping to offset the impact of tour cancellations by South Koreans to the southwestern Japan region of Kyushu following powerful earthquakes in Kumamoto and nearby areas in April, it added.
The number of South Korean tourists to Japan fell 4.2% to 302,100 in May, the first decline in two years but still accounting for the third-largest number of visitors by country and region.
China accounted for the largest number of visitors at 507,200, followed by Taiwan at 375,500.
Source: Kyodo Image: NHK
Join the Conversation