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Japan Trends

Food purchases by visitors to Japan rise 19% last year

The trend seen as a boon for government's drive to increase exports

Kyoto's Nishiki food market is popular among tourists.

TOKYO -- Visitors to Japan spent 345.6 billion yen ($3.24 billion) last year on food bought to take home, an increase of 19% from 2016, according to an estimate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Confectioneries accounted for 46% of the tally, with beverages making up much of the rest. The ministry compiled the estimate using data from the Japan Tourism Agency.

The increase in food purchases by overseas tourists, whose numbers are rising, bodes well for the government's campaign to increase exports of farm and food products.

Shopping for such items as food, cosmetics, perfume and pharmaceuticals came to 1.63 trillion yen in 2017, up 15%, and accounted for nearly 40% of foreign visitors' total expenditures, which include accommodation and dining out.

The Japanese government aims to increase exports of farm and food products to 1 trillion yen in 2019, up 20% from 2017.

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