The arrival of tourists to Japan collapsed in February due to the coronavirus
The number of foreign tourists arriving in Japan in February fell below one million, less than half of the 2.37 million visitors that the country received in the same month of 2019, due to the outbreak of coronavirus, authorities said.
Visitors from China, the country most affected by the viral outbreak and where there have been more than 80% of infections and deaths from it, fell sharply and did not reach 60,000, compared with 658,000 Chinese who visited Japan a year earlier , according to provisional data offered this Friday by the Immigration Office.
The data, revealed in a parliamentary session and disseminated by the local news agency Kyodo, are provisional. On March 18, the National Tourism Office (JNTO) will offer the exact numbers of visitors in February and the breakdown by country.
The sharp decline in tourists is a blow to the Japanese economy and occurred after China restricted the travel of its citizens at the end of January, at a time of growing uncertainty over the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, whose epicenter Original is the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The provisional data are known one day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been criticized for the country's response to the outbreak, announced restrictions as of March 9 for visitors from China and South Korea, The second most affected country by number of infections.
February data could be an outline of the possible impact of the outbreak on Japan's economy, whose tourism sector depends on Asia and, especially, on the two countries mentioned above, whose visitors accounted for 40% of the total for 2019.
The fall is also a serious blow to the country's tourism objective, which had been proposed to reach a record 40 million visitors by 2020 on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.