Major Japanese newspapers gave front-page headlines on Sept. 19 to the Japanese government's announcement that the number of South Korean tourists visiting Japan almost halved from a year ago last month in the wake of their travel boycott.
“The number of South Korean tourists in Japan dropped by almost 50 percent on year in August this year,” the Yomiuri Shimbun reported in its front-page top story, adding, “The total number of foreign tourists in Japan fell on year for the first time in 11 years as a result and the number of South Korean tourists in Japan is unlikely to rebound in the near future.”
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the number added up to 308,700, down 48 percent from a year earlier, last month after the boycott started in July to result in a decline of 7.6 percent that month. For the first eight months of this year, the number totaled 4,733,100, down 9.3 percent from a year ago. Until recently, South Korean tourists were the second-large group of tourists in Japan behind Chinese.
The Asahi Shimbun also reported the same news, adding that the travel boycott is having an increasingly adverse impact on the real economy of Japan with the ongoing trade disputes between South Korea and Japan showing no signs of easing. The Japanese government is aiming to increase the number of foreign tourists in Japan to at least 40 million by 2020. The newspaper pointed out that the goal cannot be achieved if the boycott continues.