Foreign visitors top 30 million in 2018

Foreign visitors top 30 million in 2018

The number of foreign visitors to Japan topped 30 million for the first time ever in 2018.

Tourists from other Asian nations helped push growth higher.

Japan's Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said on Friday that 31.19 million visitors came to the country last year. That's up 8.7 percent from 2017.

New routes launched by low-cost carriers and eased visa regulations attracted higher numbers of people from China, Thailand and elsewhere in Asia.

Natural disasters including typhoons and earthquakes impacted Japan during the year, keeping many away. But the trend was short-lived, as numbers recovered from October.

The boom is expected to grow even bigger. Japan will be the center of global attention over the next couple of years when it hosts the rugby World Cup and the Summer Olympics and Paralympics.