• Kyodo News


The number of foreign nationals arriving in Japan last year rose 24.6 percent from a year earlier to a record-high 9,443,671 due to the economic recovery in Asia and the relaxation by Tokyo of visa regulations for Chinese tourists, government data showed Friday.

First-time travelers to Japan also reached an all-time high, at 7,919,678, up 29.4 percent from 2009, the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The number of foreign visitors topped 9 million for the first time in 2007 at about 9.15 million, but dived to around 7.58 million in 2009 amid the global economic downturn triggered by the financial crisis in autumn 2008.

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