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Taiwan welcomes 2 millionth Japanese visitor in 2019

This file photo taken in December 2006 shows the flag of Taiwan. (Kyodo)

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- Taiwan on Monday welcomed its 2 millionth Japanese visitor this year, a new record for the island.

    Ayako Mizoguchi, 27, a native of Miyazaki Prefecture, was surprised to see a swarm of officials and reporters when she arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport in the afternoon.

    Mizoguchi, who is in Taiwan for a three-day, two-night visit with her family, said she originally thought there was some mix-up, but when she learned she was the 2 millionth visitor, she felt lucky.

    The number of Japanese visitors broke the 1 million mark in 2005 and totaled 1,969,151 last year, according to the Tourism Bureau.

    Japan has been the second largest of source of visitors to Taiwan since 2010, when mainland China overtook it.

    The number of mainlanders reached the peak of 4 million in 2015 but it has steadily fallen since President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016, reaching 2.69 million last year.

    Overall, the number of incoming visitors to Taiwan this year was 9.7 million as of October, up 9.2 percent from the same period of last year.

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