Here in Tokyo there are waves of visitors from every place on the planet. When walking in the popular districts of Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ginza, there one can hear Chinese, Korean, English, French and even Russian on a daily basis. Some retail shops have English and Chinese speakers on their sales teams.
Visitors staying 90 days or less are the largest group, now making up 98.1 percent of the total number. When added newcomers and those repeat visitors, the number actually rises to 30.1 million, a number that was inconceivable 10 years ago. This is the highest number on recored since the government started keeping notes in 1989. Visitors from Asian countries such as Thailand, South Korea, China Philippines and Malaysia were among the top 10 nationalities on the list. The number of Chinese visitors increased by 25 percent year on year.
The government has also opened the door, every so slightly, to allow 140,000 foreigners to come to Japan on a technical trainee program in 2018. There is also a new program being discusses to allow students/entrepreneurs to study and extend their stay – these are students who can start businesses with the support of local governments. Some say this is a brilliant idea.
As we approach the 2020 Olympics, Japan will allow more visitors and part-time workers to work in industries that are growing but need support. Note that a record 18.95 million Japanese nationals traveled overseas in 2018.