One year ago, the Kasumigaseki Watch column in the monthly business magazine Keizaikai (August 2017) noted that while the government has set an annual target of 40 million foreign visitors by 2020, the tourism ministry was unable to formulate an effective strategy due to "insufficient" staistical data.

Keizaikai cited a survey by the Tourism Agency in which hotel statistics suggested a decline in the number of foreign visitors — which contradicted port-of-entry data that showed record-breaking arrivals.

The inconsistency, it was supposed, could be attributed to the increase in stays at "residences offering lodgings" — commonly referred to in Japanese as minpaku — of which as many as 40,000 may have existed up to last month.