The number of foreign visitors to Japan fell 98.3% year-on-year in January to 46,500, representing 16 straight months of falling visitation, according to figures from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).
Due to the spread of COVID-19 late in the month, many countries imposed overseas travel restrictions, with Japan imposing stricter quarantine restrictions and invalidating visas, among other measures.
While still not allowing overseas tourists into Japan, since the end of July business entry have gradually been allowed, but from the end of December new entries were temporarily halted and quarantine requirements were made stricter, reducing visitor numbers below the preceding month once again.
With the Tokyo Olympic Games rapidly approaching, visitors fell from 58,700 in December 2020.
“Tourist travel remains stagnant due to the spread of COVID-19 and we must continue to closely observe each country’s travel restrictions and market trends as well as infections,” the JNTO said.
By country, visitors from Vietnam were the highest at 20,000, followed by China at 10,200 and then South Korea at 2,500. From the West, visitors from the United States were highest at 1,200.
Further, with the declaration of a state of emergency according to the Act on Special Measures Concerning New Influenza, which was implemented on 9 January 2021, it was decided that all immigrants, re-entries and returnees from all countries/regions, including Japanese citizens, shall undergo PCR tests at time of landing for the duration of the state of emergency, which remains in effect.