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The number of visas issued by Japan’s diplomatic missions abroad in 2018 rose 18.5 percent from the previous year to a record 6,952,804, the Foreign Ministry has said.

About 80 percent of the total, standing at 5,447,097, were issued to Chinese nationals on the back of relaxed tourist visa requirements, the ministry said Friday.

The Philippines followed China, with Vietnam third and Indonesia fourth.

As the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to increase visitors from abroad, the number of visas issued increased year by year from 1,864,425 in 2013.

This has boosted workloads at overseas missions. The ministry is trying to streamline related operations by promoting online visa applications and increasing the number of call centers.

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