Monthly Visitors to Japan Top 100,000 for 1st Time in 2 Yrs

REUTERS file photo
People chose from a display of candy in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, which is popular among tourists, Japan, March 30, 2016.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan stood at 139,500 in April, exceeding 100,000 for the first time since March 2020, when the novel coronavirus started raging in the country, government data showed Wednesday.

The rise came after the government started reopening borders to foreign nationals in March this year under some conditions.

The figure jumped 13-fold from a year before but was still down 95.2 pct from the level in April 2019, before the pandemic, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Japan started easing its COVID-19 border control measures in March this year, allowing new entry by foreigners for purposes other than tourism. Beginning April 10, up to some 10,000 foreign nationals per day are allowed to enter the country.

In April, the number of visitors from Vietnam totaled 29,800, against 22,400 from China and 11,700 from Indonesia.

The government plans to start a test program this month to reopen borders to participants of small group package tours from abroad, with Japanese travel agencies managing their activities.

Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Koichi Wada told a press conference that up to some 15 groups, each with up to four participants, will be allowed in under the program.

The agency is selecting tour destinations, he added.