Foreign visitors to Japan last year climbed to 80% of record

Foreign visitors to Japan grew more than six-fold last year, reaching about 80 percent of the record high marked in 2019.

The Immigration Services Agency on Friday released its preliminary data that shows about 25.83 million people visited Japan in 2023.

About 92 percent were first-time visitors. South Korea led with 6.81 million arrivals, followed by Taiwan with 4.07 million.

About 23.13 million people came for short stays, including sightseeing. Over 180,000 people entered for a technical trainee program, while nearly 140,000 people arrived to study.

The agency attributes the surge to the easing of coronavirus-related border restrictions in October 2022.