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Travel & Leisure

Japan looks to miss 40m-visitor goal despite Olympics

South Korean boycotts and typhoons led to slowest growth since 2012

Foreign tourist numbers are increasing, but growth has slowed, and the government's goal of 40 million visitors in 2020 is looking less and less attainable. (Photo by Takuya Imai)

TOKYO -- Japan's inbound visitor growth slowed in 2019 on a drop in South Korean tourists amid bilateral tensions, leaving the government with a tougher hurdle to clear to achieve its ambitious target this year.

Japan welcomed 31.88 million foreign visitors in 2019, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced Friday. Although arrivals increased for an eighth consecutive year, the 2.2% growth rate was the smallest since 2012. Natural disasters including destructive typhoons contributed to the slowdown.

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