• Kyodo

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Ministers in charge of tourism from Japan, China and South Korea agreed Sunday to try to boost the number of visitors among the three countries to 17 million in five years, 5 million more than the present level.

The agreement, called the Hokkaido Declaration, is a major pillar of a joint declaration adopted at the first-ever meeting of the three nations’ tourism ministers.

Meeting in Kushiro, Hokkaido, were Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kazuo Kitagawa, Shao Qiwei, director of China’s National Tourism Administration, and South Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Kim Myong Gon.

Touching on the importance of peace and stability in East Asia through strengthened relations, the joint declaration vows to remove impediments to tourism exchanges among the three countries and to attract tourists from other parts of the world through joint promotion campaigns and development of new products.

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