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Foreign visitors to Japan fall for 4th straight month in January

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The number of foreign visitors to Japan fell for the fourth straight month in January as the impact of a South Korean boycott continued to weigh, with further, sharper falls expected ahead as the coronavirus keeps away Chinese travellers.

[TOKYO] The number of foreign visitors to Japan fell for the fourth straight month in January as the impact of a South Korean boycott continued to weigh, with further, sharper falls expected ahead as the coronavirus keeps away Chinese travellers.

Total foreign arrivals, which include tourism and business arrivals, declined 1.1 per cent to 2.66 million from 2.69 million in the corresponding month last year, Japanese government data showed on Wednesday.

Arrivals from South Korea - which has been boycotting Japanese goods and services since a trade dispute ignited between the two countries last year, plunged 59 per cent year over year, the Japan National Tourism Organization said.

The number of mainland Chinese visitors to Japan rose 23 per cent, helped by a favourable comparison with 2019 when the Chinese New Year - a peak travel period - took place in February.

The Chinese New Year officially began this year on Jan 25 - before China halted all tour groups to other countries due to the coronavirus on Jan 27. The travel ban is likely to have a sharp impact on Japan's tourist arrivals from February. 

REUTERS