TOKYO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — The preliminary number of foreign visitors to Japan stood at 46,500, down 98.3 percent in January compared to a year earlier, decreasing for the 16th consecutive month, government statistics showed Wednesday.
The plunge in the number was caused by the country’s suspension of the entry of all non-resident foreign nationals amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The figure also logged a fall from the previous month for the first time in eight months, according to the Japan Tourism Agency.
The number of visitors had been gradually increasing since last June as the country eased entry restrictions particularly for business people.
However, the suspension of such special treatment put a damper on the recovery trend.
In the reporting month, visitors from Vietnam constituted almost half of the arrivals at 20,000, down 60.3 percent.
According to the agency, many technical interns from Vietnam entered Japan before the entry of all non-resident foreign nationals was halted in mid-January.
The number of visitors from China came second, amounting to 10,200, down 98.9 percent, followed by 2,500 from South Korea, down 99.2 percent.
The number of expatriates and their families, as well as international students, entering or re-entering Japan were included in the statistics. Aircrew and permanent residents were excluded.
Moreover, the number of Japanese nationals departing the country plunged 96.5 percent to 48,700 in January. Enditem