• Kyodo

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The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in August rose 12.8 percent from a year earlier to 2,049,200, a record high for August and topping 2 million for the second straight month, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday.

The number of foreign visitors from January through August this year totaled 16,059,500, up 24.7 percent. The number exceeded 15 million at a faster pace than last year, when the number of foreign visitors for the entire year was a record high.

The number of foreign visitors in the first eight months of last year was 12,875,256, and 19,737,409 for the entirety of 2015.

As major factors behind the record number of visitors in August, the Japan Travel Agency cited increased port calls by cruise ships, airlines launching new routes and an increase in the number of flights, as well as continuous visit-Japan campaigns.

However, the year-on-year increase in August remained below 20 percent for the second consecutive month, following a 19.7 percent rise in July.

By country and region, the greatest number of visitors — some 677,000 — came from China, followed by 458,900 from South Korea and 333,200 from Taiwan.

Visitors from Southeast Asia increased notably, with Indonesia logging the largest increase of 30.9 percent, followed by Malaysia with a 26.0 percent rise and Vietnam with 24.9 percent.

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