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Wednesday, 15th May 2013
In General Japan News,

Visas issued by Japan in 2012 nearly double 2011 numbers

The number of visas issued by Japanese officials in 2012 is nearly 50 per cent higher than in 2011, the Foreign Ministry has revealed. 

During the whole of last year there were 1,986,539 visas issued to people entering the country, which was a 46.5 per increase on the year before. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan stated that the low number of visas issued in 2011 could be directly attributed to the "aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima accidents". 

This bears out statistics issued by the Japan National Tourism Organisation, which shows that before the disaster tourism in Japan was 24 per cent above average. Following the tragedy, the number of foreign tourists visiting the country dropped by a staggering 60 per cent. 

It looks as though Japan is on the road to recovery in terms of visitor numbers. Statistics released by travel company Expedia revealed that there had been a 48 per cent increase in bookings to Japan in 2012 compared to the year before. 

Tokyo is clearly a popular destination as Expedia reported a 49 per cent jump in bookings for the capital last year compared to 2011. 

In March, the company reported that there had been a 19 per cent rise in searches for Japan ahead of the cherry blossom season which many people visit Asia for. 

According to Expedia, the most popular destination in the Asian nation was Tokyo, followed by Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka and Hiroshima. 

Andy Washington, managing director at Expedia, said: "Japan has grown in popularity over the past few years, and 2013 looks set to be a great year for visitor numbers. 

The Foreign Ministry reported that of the visas issued in 2012, some 80 per cent were issued to Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian and Filipino nationals. 

Tourism in Japan received a bit of a boost in 2012 when Wanderlust's Readers' Travel Awards listed the country as its top country to visit and Kyoto as the second best city in the world to explore.

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Japan introduces multiple visas for Emiratis (7th October 2013)
Longer visas granted for medical tourists (20th December 2010)