With the goal of drawing 20 million inbound tourists annually by 2020 within reach four years ahead of schedule, the government announced Wednesday it will double the target to 40 million.

The ambitious move came after the Japan National Tourism Organization announced in January that a record 19.73 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2015, up 47.3 percent from the previous year.

Also under the new goal, which was set at a meeting of a special panel chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the government said it will target ¥8 trillion in spending by overseas visitors by 2020 — more than double last year's record ¥3.48 trillion.