The number of foreign visitors to Japan in June marked a record high for the month. Tourism officials point to more travelers from mainland China mainly due to the easing of visa requirements.
The Japan National Tourism Organization estimates that 2.88 million foreigners visited Japan last month. That's up 6.5 percent from a year earlier.
Visitors from mainland China numbered 880,700, up 15.7 percent year-on-year. The number from South Korea was 611,900, up 0.9 percent. Travelers from Taiwan totaled 461,100, also up 0.9 percent.
The Japan Tourism Agency attributed the increase to a recovery from a decline a year earlier due to a powerful earthquake in Osaka, western Japan. The agency also cited an increased number of flights operated by budget airlines.
The total number of foreign visitors between January and June was more than 16.6 million, up 4.6 percent from the same period last year.
JTA chief Hiroshi Tabata said the country wants to make use of the great opportunities of this year's Rugby World Cup and next year's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to reach its goal of 40 million visitors in 2020.