• Kyodo

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Spending by foreign visitors in Japan is expected to set a new record this year, as it had already reached ¥3.28 trillion ($29.1 billion) through September, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday.

The pace is on course to shatter the record ¥3.75 trillion spending set last year, sustained by the fastest pace of increase in the number of foreign visitors that exceeded the 20 million mark in mid-September, according to the agency.

Japan aims to attract 40 million overseas visitors per year by 2020, when the country will host the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as targeting spending by them of ¥8 trillion.

Their spending in the July to September period rose 26.7 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.23 trillion, while average spending per visitor increased 6.6 percent to ¥165,412.

As South Korean and Chinese travelers in particular spent more in Japan compared with the same period last year, it appears to have pushed up the total spending by foreigners, according to the analysis by the agency.

By country and region, Chinese visitors spent the most at ¥543.2 billion, up 23.5 percent, followed by the Taiwanese at ¥149.0 billion, up 15.3 percent, and South Koreans at ¥136.1 billion, up 49.9 percent.

The number of foreign visitors from January to September totaled 21,196,400, up 17.9 percent from a year earlier.

Of the total visitors through September, those from China accounted for the largest number at 5.56 million, followed by those from South Korea at 5.22 million and from Taiwan at 3.46 million.

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