The number of foreign tourists to Japan last month dropped for the first time in more than five years, as an earthquake and typhoon brought a temporary halt to travel in some of the nation’s top destinations.
Tourist numbers fell 5.3 percent from a year earlier, the Japan National Tourism Organization said, the first year-on-year contraction since January 2013.
Visitor numbers from China, which accounts for the biggest portion of Japan’s tourists, shrank 3.8 percent, while tourism from South Korea fell 14 percent.
Typhoon Jebi, the strongest cyclone to strike Japan in 25 years, ripped through Osaka on Sept. 4, flooding the nation’s third most-used airport and canceling inbound flights for weeks.
Just days later, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Hokkaido, killing more than 40 people and knocking out power to the entire island.
The twin blows to peak tourist destinations were the latest in a string of natural disasters from floods to heatwaves that hit Japan this summer, which had already weighed on tourist growth.
Tourism has soared over the past five years as a weakening yen has brought a record influx of tourists from overseas. Fewer visitors from China might partly reflect that country’s economic slowdown.
This matters, because China accounts for about one-third of overall tourism to Japan. The number of Chinese tourists coming to the country grew at a double-digit pace over much of the past year until August, when growth slowed to 4.9 percent.
Changes to Japan’s minpaku, or home-sharing laws, have also made it harder for tourists to get Airbnb-style rooms.
Japan’s tourism might be further dented by a crackdown by Chinese customs officials on travelers returning from places like Tokyo loaded with high-end merchandise.
Luxury-goods companies such as Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co have tumbled this month on concerns that Chinese consumers would pull back on travel and spending plans.
Slower tourist growth is a concern for Japan’s government, which has made tourism a centerpiece of its economic policy.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to attract 40 million foreign tourists a year by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 in the hopes of spurring growth.
Last month’s data could weigh on third-quarter GDP.
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
CORPORATE SCANDAL: Cathay Life has invested NT$13.3 billion in Bank Mayapada since 2015, but the latest loss of NT$8.8 billion has completely written off its investment Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) yesterday said it would recognize an investment loss of NT$8.8 billion (US$298.1 million) in Indonesia’s Bank Mayapada Internasional Tbk PT due to concerns about the lender’s operations amid a corporate scandal. The company said it would revise its earnings result for June, from a net profit of NT$6.52 billion to a net loss of NT$520 million, its first monthly loss over the past 17 months. After booking an investment loss of NT$5.2 billion in Bank Mayapada earlier this year, Cathay Life has so far recognized total investment losses of NT$14 billion in the lender, executive vice president
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to
The US stock market has been on a tear, yet the country’s economy is in the dumps. So why do so many people believe — undoubtedly incorrectly — that the stock market has decoupled from reality? The economy many people experience, while bleak, is local, personal and, for the most part, either not publicly traded or plays only a small part in the stock market’s moves. To explain why these personal experiences have so little effect on equity markets, we must look more closely at the market role of the weakest industry sectors. The surprising conclusion: The most visible and economically vulnerable