• Kyodo, Reuters


Foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 plunged 87.1% from a year earlier, the biggest drop since 1964 when comparable data became available, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic dented travel demand and entry restrictions were imposed.

The number of foreign nationals visiting the country last year fell to a 22-year low of 4.12 million, the agency said.

The government aimed to welcome 40 million foreign visitors in 2020 when the country was originally scheduled to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but the actual figure only came to around 10% of the target, government data showed. The Summer Games were postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

In May, the number of visitors to the country dropped 99.9% from a year earlier to 1,663 as the government implemented strict border controls to stop the spread of the virus.

Monthly arrivals have crept up since the summer with the government partially easing entry restrictions. In December, the number of foreign visitors stood at 58,700, still down 97.7% from a year earlier for the 15th month of decline, the data showed.

The annual number of Japanese traveling overseas fell to some 3.17 million, a decline of 84.2%, the largest since comparable data became available.

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