• Kyodo

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Foreign tourists spent a record-high ¥4.51 trillion ($41.5 billion) in Japan in 2018 as the tourism boom continued in the country, government data showed Wednesday.

Spending by foreign visitors increased for the seventh consecutive year. Average spending per person stood at ¥153,000, the Japan Tourism Agency said in a preliminary report.

The number of foreign visitors to the country reached a record 31.19 million last year, up 8.7 percent from 2017, the agency also said.

The government expanded consumption tax exemptions for foreign tourists in July as part of efforts to raise such spending to ¥8 trillion by 2020 when Tokyo is set to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Chinese travelers spent the most, at ¥1.54 trillion. Those from South Korea came second at ¥584.2 billion, followed by tourists from Taiwan at ¥583.9 billion.

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