New figures released by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) reveal that foreign tourist arrivals to Japan were up 15.6 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018, and the numbers remain on pace to break the annual 30 million mark for the first time.
In total,15,898,900 foreign tourists visited Japan between January and June.
The rise in tourism from China and South Korea was particularly pronounced, with 4,056,400 Chinese tourists (up 23.6 percent) and 4,016,400 South Korean tourists (up 18.3 percent) coming to Japanese shores.
The Japanese government has set lofty goals for the further increase in foreign tourism, including the target of welcoming 40 million foreign tourists in the Olympic year of 2020.
The establishment of IRs in Japan is aimed at boosting inbound tourism to an even further degree, according to the explanations recently given by the Abe administration in Diet debates.