The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2014 exceeded 13 million for the first time ever, the Japan National Tourism Organization and Transport Ministry said Tuesday.
According to figures released by the JNTO, 13,410,000 tourists visited Japan in 2014, up 29.4% over 2013, TBS reported Wednesday.
The highest number came from Taiwan (up 28% to 2,829,800), followed by South Korea with 2,755,300 (up 12.2%) and China -- which had the biggest jump at 83.3% -- with 2,409,200 visitors.
Tourism officials attribute the hike in tourism numbers to the weak yen, more international flights in and out of Haneda Airport, as well as the easing of visa regulations for countries in Southeast Asia.
Agency officials also noted that from Oct 1, the list of duty-free products was expanded leading to a increase in sales at department and other stores of over 2.4 times compared to last last year.
The Japan Tourism Agency predicts that numbers of foreign tourists will continue to climb this year as well, likely exceeding 15 million.
Officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport say that by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the total number of foreign visitors will finally reach and or exceed 20 million.
Transport Minister Akihiro Ota told a news conference that access to and from major airports will be expanded along with the number of flights in and out of the country through both Haneda and Narita airports.© Japan Today