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The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in November dived 97.7% from a year before to 56,700 due to the prolonged impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

The government has started easing its ban on entry by foreign nationals, mainly for business travelers, but the pace of recovery for inbound visitors remains slow, according to the data released by the National Tourism Organization.

By country or region, the number of visitors from mainland China made up the largest group, estimated at 18,100, followed by 14,700 from Vietnam and 3,400 from Indonesia.

Many visitors in November were international students, foreign technical trainees and business travelers.

In October, the government started allowing entry into Japan by medium- and long-term visitors from around the world.

But the number of tourists remains at low levels.

With the novel coronavirus spreading again in Japan, prospects are dimming for a full return of foreign visitors.

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