【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.76: Increase in Foreign Tourists

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

The Japanese government is reluctant to accept immigrants but is aggressive in attracting foreign tourists, and has been promoting the "Visit JAPAN" campaign since 2003. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is the government agency that plays a central role in this campaign.

In January 2018, JNTO announced that the number of foreign tourists who visited Japan in 2017 reached a record high of 28.7 million. As shown in Figure 1, the number of foreign tourists increased from 1.3 million in 1980 to 8.6 million in 2010, aided by the Visit JAPAN campaign. However, the tourist inflow decreased to 6.2 million in 2011 due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11 of that year. The depreciation in the value of the yen following the very aggressive monetary easing policy reversed this drop. The fact that the exchange rate has changed from USD 1=JPY 80 in 2012 to USD 1=JPY 121 in 2015 has made Japan an attractive destination for foreign tourists. The Visit JAPAN campaign has led to a favorable evaluation of Japan among foreign tourists, who continuing to visit despite the yen's appreciation since 2016.

Figure 1 Number of foreign tourists and USD-JPY exchange rate


(Source)Japan National Tourism Organization

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