Tourists top 10 million at record pace

Kyodo

Visitors to Japan passed the 10 million mark last Saturday, three weeks earlier than last year, Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Akihiko Tamura said Friday.

According the latest data, visitors to Japan have exceeded 10 million for five years straight, but this time was the fastest on record.

In April alone, the tally rose 23.9 percent compared with the previous year to a new record of 2,578,900, shattering the previous all-time high set for a single month in July 2016.

The total between January and April, meanwhile, climbed to 9,116,000, up 16.4 percent on year, according to the data.

The agency said that the trend shows that many tourists took time off for vacations to Japan around Easter Sunday, which fell on April 16 this year, and during the popular cherry blossom season, which peaked later the same month in some places.

Also, ongoing tourism campaigns, the expansion of flight routes and the increasing number of port calls made by cruise ships appeared to be reinforcing the surge in tourism, the agency said.

By country and region in April, visitors from South Korea topped the list at 554,600, followed by China with 528,800, Taiwan with 413,300 and Hong Kong with 209,400.