|Above, the pagoda at Senso-ji temple in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
The foreign tourist total for 2015 may have fallen short of 20 million by a few thousand, but that's not the story of the tourism totals for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Nikkei Asian Review reported:
TOKYO -- The number of foreigners visiting Japan topped the 20 million mark for the first time in fiscal 2015, with travelers from East Asian driving the boom.
The annual visitor count jumped 46% from fiscal 2014 to nearly 21.4 million, according to figures released Wednesday by the Japan National Tourism Organization.
"With the expansion of the middle class mainly in Asian countries, demand for travel abroad is increasing," Akihiko Tamura, commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, told reporters. Visitors from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong accounted for more than 70% of the total.
In March -- the last month of the fiscal year -- the visitor count rose 32% on the year to 2.01 million, the highest-ever monthly figure. Strong spending by foreign visitors is one of the few bright spots in the Japanese economy.
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