• Kyodo

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The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in the fiscal year through March 2018 jumped 19.9 percent from a year before to 29.77 million, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday.

The figure for the calendar year through December 2018 is highly likely to top 30 million as the number of monthly visitors has continued to outpace that of the previous year, according to the agency.

Spending by foreign tourists in the January to March period this year surged 17.2 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.13 trillion ($10.5 billion), buoyed by shopping sprees by individual travelers from China and South Korea.

Average spending per visitor rose 0.6 percent to ¥148,891, it said.

In the three-month period, Chinese travelers spent the most — a total of ¥439.1 billion — followed by Taiwanese at ¥149.5 billion, South Koreans at ¥147.6 billion and visitors from Hong Kong at ¥81.9 billion.

In March alone, the number of foreign visitors was estimated at 2,607,900, up 18.2 percent from a year earlier and a record high for the month.

In 2017 the number of foreign visitors totaled 28.69 million, according to the agency.

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