The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan so far this year (as of Nov 30) has surpassed 13 million for the first time, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization and the Transport Ministry.
The big increase in tourists has exceeded JNTO expectations. Earlier in the year, the agency had forecast that around 12 million tourists would visit Japan in 2014.
By nationality, Taiwanese accounted for the highest number of tourists, followed by South Koreans and Chinese.
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.
Transport Minister Akihiro Ota told a news conference at Narita airport on Monday that the government hopes to attract 20 million tourists a year by 2020, TBS reported.© Japan Today