The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan from January through July this year rose 26.7 percent from the same period last year to 14.01 million, surpassing the annual record of 13.41 million logged last year, the Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday.
In July alone, the number hit a new monthly record with a total of 2,296,500 visitors, up 19.7 percent from a year earlier, helped largely by a rise in the number of port calls by foreign cruise ships and enhanced promotion activities overseas.
The latest monthly figure shows the recovery from a slowdown in the number of foreign visitors in the recent months after powerful earthquakes hit the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kumamoto in April, the Japan National Tourism Organization said.
By country and region in July, China accounted for the largest number of visitors at 731,400, followed by South Korea at 447,000 and Taiwan at 397,000. Visitors from Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines also increased, according to the agency.
Japan has recently doubled its annual target of overseas tourists visiting the country in 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, to 40 million.
Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Akihiko Tamura said at a press conference that his agency expects the total number of foreign visitors this year to reach 20 million by the end of November at the latest.