TÖKYÖ — The number of foreign visitors to Japan this year — 13.42 million as of Sept. 10 — has already surpassed last year’s record number — and the total is likely to reach 19 million, according to the Japan Tourism Agency’s head Akihiko Tamura. The Japanese government hopes to increase its foreign visitor numbers to 20 million by 2020, when Tökyö will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Preliminary data from the Japan National Tourism Organization showed that the number of foreign visitors who arrived in Japan between January and August reached some 12.88 million, up 49.1 percent from the same period last year.

By nationality, Chinese visitors increased 117.0 percent to 3.35 million during the eight-month period, while visitors from South Korea and Taiwan increased 43.6 percent and 29.9 percent, respectively.

In August alone, foreign visitor arrivals totaled 1.82 million, up 63.8 percent from a year earlier. Chinese visitors increased 133.1 percent to 592,000.

The JNTO attributed the increase in Chinese visitors to the weaker yen, summer break, launch of new flight services and port calls from many cruise ships.


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