National

Foreign visitors to Japan drop 99.9% in June for 3rd straight month

Kyodo

Foreign nationals traveling to Japan in June totaled an estimated 2,600, posting a year-on-year plunge of 99.9 percent for the third consecutive month amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

Inbound visitors sank to 1,700 in May, marking the lowest figure since 1964 when the government began compiling such statistics, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

Numbers have fallen below 3,000 since April, which saw a total of 2,917 travelers entering the country. The previous low for monthly foreign visitors prior to April was 17,543 recorded in February 1964.

The figure fell in June for the ninth consecutive month since October, when there was a significant drop in visitors from South Korea.

Bilateral ties between Tokyo and Seoul soured over the issue of wartime labor during Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

The Japanese government had been aiming to attract 40 million tourists from overseas this year, but has seen record falls in numbers.

The number of visitors from China fell to around 300 in June from 880,651 a year earlier. Those from South Korea, the United States and Vietnam dropped to about 100, while there were just a few dozen visitors from other countries, according to the data.

There were fewer than 10 people each from Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Italy and Russia who visited Japan.

The accumulated number of foreign visitors from January to June declined 76.3 percent from a year earlier to approximately 3.95 million, the data showed.

The number of Japanese nationals departing from the country in June fell 99.3 percent to about 10,700 from 1.52 million a year earlier, but increased from 5,539 the previous month.

Japan currently has an entry ban in place for 129 countries and regions aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But the government has started discussions with Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand on easing travel restrictions, and said last Friday it was looking to hold discussions with countries seeing declining numbers of infections and with high demand for business trips.

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