Kyodo: Tourism to Japan hits new record high in 2010


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Hi Blog.  I’m busy working on my next Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column (out February 1, addressing concerns I have, and other naturalized Japanese citizens have, when other long-term and naturalized residents called themselves “foreigners” in the Japan Times December 28).  So for today, a short entry:

It’s good news.  Record numbers of tourists coming in last year and pumping money into our economy.  I may have had some cross words here in the past about how NJ tourists are being treated once they get here, but why speak ill of this development?  Bring them in and show them a good time — everyone wins.  Let’s just hope that people will see sense and not decide to exclude NJ from their business just because there’s nothing legally stopping them from doing so.  Arudou Debito


Foreign visitors to Japan hit record-high 9.44 mil in 2010
Kyodo News/Japan Today January 17, 2011

TOKYO — The number of foreign nationals arriving in Japan last year rose 24.6% from a year earlier to a record-high 9,443,671 due to the economic recovery in Asia and the relaxation by Tokyo of visa regulations for Chinese tourists, government data shows.

First-time travelers to Japan also reached an all-time high of 7,919,678, up 29.4% from 2009, the Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The number of foreign visitors topped 9 million for the first time in 2007 at about 9.15 million, but dived to around 7.58 million in 2009 amid the global economic downturn triggered by the financial crisis from autumn 2008.

Among the 2010 total, South Korean visitors accounted for the highest number at around 2.69 million, up 46.4%, followed by Chinese at 1.66 million, up 34.4%, visitors from Taiwan at 1.31 million, up 22.9%, and Americans at 760,000, up 4%.

The monthly breakdown showed, however, that visitors from China and Hong Kong declined to between 110,000 to 160,000 in the final quarter of the year from about 190,000 in September, apparently reflecting political tension between Japan and China following collisions in early September involving a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol vessels near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The number of Japanese traveling abroad increased 7.7% to 16,636,999 last year, the first rise in four years.

Japanese travelers departing from Haneda airport for foreign destinations exceeded 190,000 in both November and December, up from around 90,000 in October, as the airport resumed full-fledged international flight services in late October.


4 comments on “Kyodo: Tourism to Japan hits new record high in 2010

  • It was about 5 years ago when I realized one of the reasons why I loved seeing Japan while being with my family or friends so much when they came here.

    Of course it’s great being with them, reconnecting an old life and feelings and creating a bridge to the future. But it was something more as well. What was it, I used to think?

    Was it re-seeing things through fresher, more innocent eyes? Yes, certainly, of course- no doubt about that!

    But then I also realized that people were going to be on their best behavior. I find myself acting the tourist, and it’s amazing how much better you are treated when you are dropping money and then GOING BACK TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY.

    Haha, sorry to be a bit cynical there 😉

  • @Kimpatsu.

    I’m not sure I agree. To be sure, I’ve spoken out against fingerprint verification with regards to J-VIS and other systems. A short summary of my grounds:
    1) Fingerprint biometrics on the border means that fingerprints are promoted to keys. They are not suitable for that on two grounds:
    a. No one would use a key would be acceptable that leaves an imprint just ready to cast a duplicate from on half the surfaces they come in contact with.
    b. No one would use a key of which it is so much easier for the burglar to cast a duplicate than it is for the rightful owner to have the lock replaced.
    2) On a scale of millions, fingerprint verification is error-prone in their hundreds (with ten million that becomes thousands). If people are ill-treated based on a false alarm, that would mean the existence of a Russian Roulette.
    To be sure, a lot can be done to prevent this kind of harm, not least to have fail-safe procedures in place (the failure still happens, but the innocent traveler is helped to make a full recovery without too much trouble). Part of my concern at least is that after three years and contrary to the US-VISIT and other programs, I still don’t have reliable evidence that such fail-safes are in place and circumstantial evidence shows that they might not…
    I don’t think J-VIS will be a major factor in tourism numbers any time soon. The kind of information behind the issues is mostly known within the major part of the Information Security Community and a growing number of reporters and politicians. I think the main drive against J-VIS will eventually come from foreign governments, probably starting with the EU institutions.

    With regards to the number of tourists, I don’t wish to pooh-pooh that achievement too much, but in 2010, little Netherlands welcomed over 11 million tourists. When seen as a proportion of the population of either country, the difference becomes even more clear, Japan: <10%, Netherlands ~60%. To be sure, being within Schengen territory and having land borders with several countries with a very high standard of living helps a lot, but there's still a very wide margin to suspect that something works against the popularity of Japan…


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