National

Growth in number of visitors to Japan remains slow in August due to natural disasters

JIJI

The estimated number of visitors to Japan in August rose 4.1 percent from a year earlier to 2,577,800, marking slow growth due to recent disasters in the country as well as scorching summer heat, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday.

A powerful earthquake in Osaka Prefecture in June and downpours that devastated other western parts of the country in July led to many trip cancellations, the organization said.

Besides the disasters in western Japan, where there are many popular sites for South Korean tourists, extreme heat over the summer is also believed to have caused some tourists to postpone their visits.

The number of visitors from South Korea fell 4.3 percent to 593,900, dropping for the second month in a row.

Visitors from mainland China increased by 4.9 percent to 860,000 people, from Taiwan by 4.4 percent to 394,500 and Hong Kong by 0.7 percent to 198,100, all record highs for the month of August. But the growth rates shrank from pre-disaster levels.

The country has also experienced a pair of large-scale disasters this month.

Typhoon Jebi caused the temporary closure of Kansai International Airport in Osaka while a massive earthquake shook Hokkaido.

Noting that moves to put off trips to Japan have already been detected, tourism agency chief Hiroshi Tabata voiced concern over the spread of the negative effects of the disasters.