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A total of 1.82 million people arrived in Japan in October, a record high and up 43.8 percent from the same period a year ago, the Japan National Tourism Organization announced Wednesday.

The increase was aided in part by the continued depreciation of the yen and a surge in the number of Chinese visitors.

During the 10-months through the end of October, the number of arrivals reached 16.31 million, also a record high, which means arrivals for 2015 could hit the 20 million mark, the highest annual number ever.

The duty-free system for inbound tourists, an expansion of airline routes, a fall in fuel surcharges and the relaxation of visas are among the reasons contributing to the record arrivals, the JNTO said.

By country, October arrivals logged record highs among tourists from 17 markets — with the exception of those from Russia, whose numbers fell by 23.4 percent to 5,299.

Of the 1.82 million total, travelers from China topped the list with 445,600 arrivals, nearly double the figure the same month last year. Arrivals from South Korea came in second, with 370,800, up 43.8 percent, followed by 343,600 from Taiwan, up 32 percent.

Meanwhile, January-October arrivals from China reached 4.28 million, marking the first time ever that travelers from any country topped 4 million within a year.

JNTO said the number of cruises from China rose to 46 this past October, up from 12 the same month last year. The number of flights connecting Chinese cities and Tokyo and Osaka continue to rise, according to JNTO.

Many South Koreans came during the three-day weekend from Oct. 11, while autumn leaf-viewing tours to Hokkaido and Tohoku proved popular among travelers from Taiwan.

Elsewhere, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday that the number of duty-free shops across the country grew threefold in the year through Oct. 1 to 29,047.

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