Japan wants more foreign tourists!

3 Oct

Nevertheless Japanese culture, foods, anime, language, and etc., are considered accepted with good impressions among foreign people, it’s true Japan has still very poor number of foreign tourists every year. In order to boost our economy, it’s critically important to have more and more foreign visiters to this country. So how can we attract them?

Here’s the quotation from Daily Yomiuri. My post continues after this article.
Japan Tourism Agency inaugurated
Taku Iwaki / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

With the aim of attracting more foreign visitors to this country and helping revitalize local economies, the government on Wednesday launched the Japan Tourism Agency.

The new body is tasked with playing a key role in the government’s plan to build a nation that can thrive on its tourism, in which tourists would help to generate a vibrant source of growth.

The agency–the first government ministry-affiliated body to be established since the Financial Services Agency was established in 2000–was created by upgrading the tourism division of the Construction and Transport Ministry, a division formerly headed by bureau chief-level officials.

It is hoped the agency will break down bureaucratic sectionalism and attract more foreign visitors.

Construction and Transport Minister Kazuyoshi Kaneko on Tuesday appointed Yoshiaki Honpo, 59, head of the ministry’s tourism policy, as the agency’s first director general.

The government believes that pushing tourism is a highly effective way to boost local economies, as tourism creates jobs and increases consumption. The government has set a goal of attracting 20 million tourists in 2020, compared with 8.35 million in 2007.

However, many issues must be addressed if this goal is to be achieved. In 2006, Japan ranked 30th in the world in terms of overseas visitors, and seventh in Asia.

One issue that must be tackled is improvements to the system for accepting visitors from abroad, such as by smoothing accessibility via less stringent screening procedures for visa applications. However, this could bring the agency into conflict with the National Police Agency and the Justice Ministry.

(Oct. 2, 2008)
I watched this TV program and found something interesting.
Which nation do you think visit Japan more frequently and most?
That’s Hong Konger.
Especially in their 20’s and 30’s.  Yeah~, I can nod that!
Moreover, 3/4 of HK tourists to Japan are repeaters.
Why?  Because they are in love with made-in-Japan characters, such as Hello Kitty.

In fact, they are looking for something sold only in Japan. 
Price doesn’t matter as long as the item is Japan original and cannot be purchased in their country, according to a twenty something years old girl on the TV show. 

Japan original Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty limited item that can only be purchased in Japan.

This is the point.

It looks like our government now owes much to Hello Kitty!!
They collaborate with Sanrio and create more and more original kitty that attracts more foreigners and lead them to this country over and over again.  Hello Kitty has become so important factor to this business…
It’s not just kawaii.  It works for the country!!  *impressed* 


10 Responses to “Japan wants more foreign tourists!”

  1. Rwen October 4, 2008 at 1:34 am #

    I think the big problem is the cost for air fare. The ticket itself would cost a grand or more, and then the cost of a hotel, you wouldn’t have any money left for tourist things. The economy in the US is also bad, making it harder and harder for Americans to leave (which may be the point, haha).

    I actually have a ‘bonifide’ Hello Kitty plushy from Japan, it had its orginal tag until my last move. My father went there for work, and he brought it back for me. It’s actually the softest HKs I’ve ever found. I love Hello Kitty (and alot of Sanrio and San X)!

    Also, I love your blog. I’m an avid reader, and you’re so informative! Your English is very clear and understandable, too. (^-^) (I wish I could work on my Japanese) Please keep it going!

  2. Sing Yee October 4, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    Who wouldn't want to visit Japan? I most definitely would! 😛 😀 But if there's one thing that'd make me think twice is the language barrier. I won't feel that comfortable in a place where I can't communicate with the locals and can't even read written signboards and labels. I won't be able to enjoy myself. Some may argue that there are tour guides that bring tourists about, but still, I would like to understand what I'm seeing, not just hear it from another person's explanation.

    As for the kawaii, that'll be my number one *ichiban* reason to visit Japan! :mrgreen:

    • Jen :) December 11, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      I've been to Japan about 8 times and don't speak a word of Japanese (except maybe hello and thank you). We've been in city areas and country areas. We make all our travel arrangements ourselves and we've never had a problem with the language. The train system is very simple to use and there are always plenty of people who speak English who are very willing to help you if you need assistance. We also find most Japanese actually do understand some English as it is taught in schools. If you have trouble communicating, write it down. We often find they understand written English better than spoken. Don't let the language stop you from visiting an amazing and stunning country. We can't wait to go back! 🙂

      • kirin December 12, 2011 at 2:21 am #

        That's so true! If you speak English slowly and write it down, we'd understand it. But it's also true that some people are allergic to English, who may run away from you, telling "No English!". In that case, you only need to know some basic Japanese to start up a conversation such as "Sumimasen" and then easy English to be followed would be nicer!

  3. kirin October 4, 2008 at 11:56 am #

    Thank you for your visit to my new blog, and I’m pleased to know you’re a reader of this blog. I do appreciate that and I’ll try to write something that I can catch because I live in Tokyo area.

    As oil price surged, we are asked to pay extra charge besides air ticket. This makes the situation even harder. When we try to travel and see people from other countries, it costs too much, so I just have to replace that to internet (blogging) for a time being, but I really really wanna travel around other countries, too.

    Sanrio & San-X, they do such a good job. There’s no wonder those characters are loved in the world!

    @Sing Yee,
    Ah~, you’re right! For example Tokyo is well-known big city, but unfortunately, not many Japanese people speak or understand English well. Signs at train stations are lately written in Japanese, English, Chinese & Korean (sometimes)
    when it comes to Tokyo area, though…

    Thanks for the amendment of my link URL 🙂

  4. Tom October 4, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    Someone should tell the Tourist Minister that Japan wants more tourists.

    Have you heard about what he said?

  5. kirin October 5, 2008 at 4:48 am #

    I know…I’m disappointed to hear that. There just seems to be no coherence in our government when someone says something stupid in public, while on the other hand, launching a new agency like this…

  6. Dutchie October 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    When we go to Japan, it’s to soak up the culture. That would be the selling point for tourism there.

    We stayed at the Hyatt n they don’t serve japanese food which disappointed us. With the help of taxi drivers, we managed to dine in restaurants serving authentic Japanese dishes. Hotels should be a calling card for Japan. What better way to treat a visitor than with Japanese ambience ?

  7. kirin October 22, 2008 at 2:36 pm #


    Oh I’m sorry to hear your story!
    Can’t believe what they’ve done to you.
    Hyatt is good, but you could have stayed at Ryokan, or authentic Japanese hotel instead.

  8. Dutchie October 28, 2008 at 4:34 pm #


    Next time we definitely want to try an authentic Japanese hotel !

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