Record low 1,700 foreign visitors in Japan in May amid pandemic

18, Jun. 2020

Gion, Kyoto
Gion, Kyoto

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan received an estimated 1,700 foreign travelers in May, an all-time low for the second consecutive month, amid the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

The number, down 99.9 percent from a year earlier and compared with 2,900 in April, is the lowest since 1964, when the government began compiling such statistics, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

It is the eighth consecutive monthly decline, as travel restrictions were imposed globally amid the spread of the virus, according to the preliminary data.

With cases of coronavirus infections topping 8 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, it is set to be some time before travelers can return.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is considering partially easing entry restrictions, it is now focused on stimulating domestic tourism by Japanese residents through subsidies.

"We'll promote domestic tourism by providing a safe and secure traveling environment, and aim to revitalize local economies," Hiroshi Tabata, chief of the Japan Tourism Agency, told a press conference.

The number of visitors from China plunged to just 30 in May from 756,365 a year earlier, and those from South Korea totaled 20 against 603,394, the data showed.

Travelers from the United States dropped to 50 from 156,962 in May 2019, and those from India and France were 30 and 20, respectively.

The number of Japanese nationals departing the country in May plunged 99.6 percent to 5,500 from 1,437,929 a year earlier but slightly picked up from 3,915 the previous month.

The accumulated number of foreign visitors from January to May declined 71.3 percent from a year earlier to 3.94 million, the data showed.

Japan currently imposes an entry ban on 111 countries and regions. The government is considering easing restrictions on countries where the virus is under control, such as Vietnam. (Kyodo)