Foreign Visitors to Japan Drop, Radiation, Food Safety and High Yen Cited

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) An estimated 562,000 foreign people visited Japan on sightseeing or business during July, down 36 percent from the same month last year, and marking the 5th month of decline following the March 11th disaster, Japan National Tourism Organization said.

By countries and territories, travelers were down by 47 percent from China, 44 percent from Canada, 43 percent from France, 41 percent from Russia and Hong Kong. The drop in tourists also included 40 percent from South Korea, 35 percent from Australia and 31 percent from Singapore, according to the government bureau.

"Foreign travelers are coming back slowly, but many still appear reluctant to visit" as a result of the unfolding crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which continues to release radioactive substances, and the yen's recent sharp rise. People also refrained from visiting Japan apparently because of concerns over food safety following the discovery of beef contaminated with radioactive cesium that has leaked from the plant, which was badly damaged by the disaster.

The bureau says it will conduct a publicity campaign through foreign media to reassure foreign people that Japanese tourist sites are safe to visit.

Higher airfares charged by Chinese and Taiwanese airlines also discouraged travel to Japan even though the number of flights to and from the country has recovered somewhat, the tourism organization said.

Meanwhile, the number of Japanese going abroad marked the first year-on-year increase since the March triple disaster, rising 4.5 percent to 1,469,000, reflecting the yen's appreciation.

PanOrient News

© PanOrient News All Rights Reserved.