Sun, Nov 18, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese visits to Japan reach record high: agency

Staff writer, with CNA, Tokyo

The number of Taiwanese visitors to Japan reached a year-on-year high last month, while the number of Chinese tourists to the country tumbled amid a territorial dispute in the East China Sea, the Japan Tourism Agency said.

Taiwanese made 134,200 visits to Japan last month, up 23.8 percent from the same month last year, the independent agency said on Friday.

However, the number of Chinese visitors in the same month was about 71,000, down 33.1 percent year-on-year, compared with the number of Chinese visitors the previous month, which was an increase of 9.8 percent from last year, the agency said.

In September, Japan moved to nationalize three islets in a disputed island group — known in Taiwan and China as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and in Japan as the Senkakus — to strengthen its sovereignty claim in the area, against competing claims by Taiwan and China.

Japan’s move caused tension in the region and sparked numerous protests in Taiwan and China.

According to the agency, the number of foreign visitors to Japan last month was 706,100, up 14.7 percent year-on-year.

The number of tourists from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia also set yearly highs for the month.

Due to the appreciation of the Japanese yen and worries about food contamination caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year, the number of tourists from other countries has rebounded slowly.

The Japan National Tourism Organization has set the goal of attracting 9 million foreign tourists this year.

As of the end of last month, foreign tourists had made about 7 million visits to the country.

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