Foreign visitors to Japan, tourists' spending in 2015 hit new records
Kyodo -- Jan 19
The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2015 reached 19.74 million and these travelers spent an estimated 3.48 trillion yen ($29.6 billion), both hitting new record highs, the Japan Tourism Agency said Tuesday.

The number of visitors, increasing partly due to a weaker yen which encourages tourists to visit and spend when in the country, comes close to the Japanese government's target of 20 million visitors from overseas by 2020 when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held.

The agency also attributed the rise in the number of foreign travelers and their spending to relaxed visa requirements for tourists from other Asian countries and the expansion of types of items available to be bought via duty-free.

Agency data showed that the number of visitors and their spending topped the previous annual record in 2014 of 13.41 million and 2.03 trillion yen, respectively.

Chinese travelers more than doubled to 5 million from 2.41 million in 2014, with those from South Korea growing 20.3 percent to 4 million and Taiwanese tourists up 18.6 percent at 3.68 million, the agency said.

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii, speaking at a press conference, expressed his hope that the number of visitors from overseas to Japan will top 20 million this year while expressing a cautious view about the Chinese economy.

去年1年間で日本を訪れた外国人旅行者の数が約1974万人となり、過去最多を大きく­更新しました。 観光庁・田村明比古長官:「昨年は1年間を通して、すべての月で単月の過去最高を記録­。
News sources: Kyodo, ANNnewsCH
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