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Japan awaits big wave of Southeast Asian tourists

Proximity and budget airline flights favor the nation as neighbors grow richer

Thai tourists find their nirvana at a Buddhist temple in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, central Japan.

TOKYO -- Amid Japan's inbound tourism boom, the number of Southeast Asians visiting the country is particularly conspicuous.

Thai tourists to Japan topped 1 million in 2018, while their Vietnamese and Filipino counterparts also came over in large numbers. What is even better for Japan's economy is that many of these travelers ended up in stores, where they were not shy about spending.

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