TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in a good mood on the evening of Jan. 19. Sipping red wine at his official residence, he told his dinner guests the news of the day: Tourist arrivals to Japan had surged 47% in 2015 to a record 19.7 million. Driving the growth was a 107% jump in Chinese arrivals.
"We've got to expand hotel capacity to bring in more visitors," Abe said. "There's such a shortage of rooms that even APA hotels are expensive," he said, referring to a nationwide chain of no-frills business hotels.