Chinese visitors to Japan plunged 33.1% in October


The number of visitors to Japan from China, excluding Hong Kong, plunged 33.1 percent from a year before to an estimated 71,000 in October, reflecting heightened tensions over the two nations’ territorial row concerning the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Friday.

The number of Chinese visitors had been rising steadily and was expected to hit a record high this year, but plunged after Japan nationalized three of the five islets in the Senkaku chain, which is also claimed by China, on Sept. 11.

Although the Japanese tourism industry had hoped to see a rebound in the number of visitors in October on the back of China’s national day holidays, the result turned out to be dismal. October saw a sharp decrease in group tourists in particular, according to JNTO officials.

The overall number of foreign visitors to Japan in October rose 14.7 percent to 706,100 due to an increase in travelers from Southeast Asia.

Also contributing to the growth were a series of meetings related to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group held in Tokyo.