• Kyodo

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The combined number of people who departed from or entered Japan via Narita airport between July 15 and Aug. 31 grew 9.5 percent over a year earlier to 3.929 million, the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau’s branch office in the airport said in a preliminary report.

The number eclipsed the 3.76 million posted in the same summer vacation period of 2008, before the Lehman shock, the Justice Ministry unit said Friday.

The unit attributed the rebound in the number of travelers to an easing of the global economic downturn and the reduced threat of the new strain of influenza.

Japanese citizens who left Japan from the airport during the 48-day period came to 1.331 million, up 8.2 percent from a year before, while the number of foreigners who departed stood at 672,400, up 13.6 percent.

The number of Japanese who returned to the country via the airport during the period amounted to 1.30 million, up 9.7 percent, while that of foreigners who entered Japan through Narita grew 7.9 percent to 625,800.

Of the foreigners who entered Japan via the airport, Chinese citizens accounted for 82,000, far eclipsing the 49,000 seen a year earlier. The surge appears to have stemmed from a relaxation by the government in July of requirements for visas for individual Chinese tourists, the immigration bureau office said.

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