The number of visitors to Japan in 2016 jumped 21.8 pct from the previous year to an estimated 24,039,000, renewing its record high for the fourth successive year, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said Tuesday.
The growth was led by visitors from China, South Korea and Taiwan.
An increase in the number of air routes to Japan, including those operated by budget airlines, and the relaxation of visa requirements contributed to the record-breaking travel demand, officials said.
The Japanese government targets 40 million foreign visitors in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Environment Ministry said Friday that it has punished a 71-year-old part-time worker at Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in central Tokyo for neglecting to collect entry fees from some non-Japanese speakers. (Jiji)
The position of the Japan-U.S. alliance as the linchpin of Japanese foreign policy and security is an "unchanging principle," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a policy speech Friday hours before the inauguration of the next U.S. president. (Kyodo)
The organizing committee of the 2017 Asian Winter Games to be held in Hokkaido, northern Japan, next month has asked a Japanese hotel chain to take appropriate measures amid criticism for its owner's denial of the 1937 Nanjing incident. (Jiji)