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Annual No. of foreign visitors to Japan tops 10 mil. at fastest pace

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The estimated number of annual foreign visitors to Japan surpassed 10 million as of May 13, the fastest pace to reach the level, Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Akihiko Tamura said Friday.

    With the latest data, the annual number of foreign visitors to the country has exceeded 10 million for the fifth straight year. The pace of reaching the figure came about three weeks earlier than last year.

    In April alone, the number rose 23.9 percent from a year earlier to a record 2,578,900, shattering the previous single-month all-time high set in July 2016, while the number of foreign visitors totaled 9,116,000 between January and April, up 16.4 percent from a year earlier, according to data released by the tourism agency.

    The agency said the latest trend shows that many foreign tourists took vacations around Easter Sunday, which was April 16 this year, and visited the country, as well as during the cherry blossom season.

    Also, continuing visit-Japan campaigns, an expansion of flight service routes and an increasing number of port calls by cruise ships appeared to back the trend of surging foreign visitors, the agency said.

    By country and region in April, visitors from South Korea came first at 554,600, followed by China at 528,800, Taiwan at 413,300, and Hong Kong at 209,400.

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