• Kyodo

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An estimated 2.04 million foreign visitors came to Japan in February, growing 7.6 percent from a year earlier but at a slower pace than the previous month, a government body said Wednesday.

The figure for February — 2,035,800 visitors — was also the largest for the month. It compares with 2,295,700 visitors the previous month, a 24 percent increase from the same month last year and the second-highest monthly total ever.

Visitors from South Korea made up the largest group at 600,000, up 22.2 percent, followed by China at 509,100 (up 2 percent) and Taiwan at 343,000 (down 1.7 percent), according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

It is the first time in four years and a month that the number of visitors from Taiwan has decreased.

“Competition to attract Taiwanese tourists is intensifying, with offers of low-priced flights to Europe increasing,” Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Akihiko Tamura told a news conference.

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