The number of foreign tourists who visited Japan in 2009 plunged 18.7 percent from the previous year to 6.79 million, the first fall in six years, due to the global recession and the spread of the H1N1 strain of influenza in Asia, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Monday.
In 2009, the largest number of foreign tourists came from South Korea at 1,587,000, followed by Taiwan at 1,024,000 and China at 1,006,000. The top three rankings remained unchanged from a year earlier.
Interestingly, while the number of tourists from most countries declined, those from China rose 0.6 percent to hit a record high because Japan eased regulations and began issuing tourist visas to some Chinese individuals in July.
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