TOKYO -- Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii said on Tuesday the number of foreign visitors to Japan rose around 20% last year to 24.039 million, marking a record figure and a five-year growth streak. Visitors from Southeast Asia notably increased.
Ishii stressed the record number "is a result of measures such as relaxation of visa requirements and improvements of consumption tax exemptions" as Japan considers the tourism industry a pillar of its growth strategy.
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