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Foreign visitors to Japan up 4.1% in Aug., disasters slow pace

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan increased 4.1 percent in August from a year earlier to 2,577,800, but the pace of rise slowed following an earthquake and torrential rains in the country's west, government data showed Wednesday.

The country continued to benefit from new flights and tourism promotion efforts but the rate of increase further dipped from an estimated 5.6 percent in July when the figure fell below 10 percent for the first time since February, according to the Japan National Tourism Agency.

The number of travelers from South Korea and Malaysia declined after the downpours caused flooding and landslides in western Japan in July, and a powerful quake struck northern Osaka Prefecture in June.

By country and region, the biggest number of tourists came from China at 860,000, followed by South Korea at 593,900 and Taiwan at 394,500.

The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in the January to August period totaled 21,308,900, up 12.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data.

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