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Chinese tourists start returning to Japan following earthquake

[ 2011-05-16 10:46]     字号 [] [] []  
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Japan is expected to get back on the tourist map of Chinese visitors after a temporary plunge caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The Consulate-General of Japan in Shanghai accepted visa applications from a group of tourists from Zhejiang province last Friday who want to visit Tokyo.

According to Kyodo News, the 30-member tour group will arrive at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on May 23 and leave Japan from Kansai International Airport on May 28.

It is the first time a Chinese tour group has applied to go to Tokyo for sightseeing since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan and a nuclear meltdown caused the country's worst crisis since World War II.

For years, Japan's staggering economy has been getting a lift from hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists for whom shopping for made-in-Japan products is one of their most popular activities.

But the recent disasters have overwhelmed the government's effort to attract more visitors and boost its economy.

Figures from Japan Tourism Agency showed that the number of tourists from the Chinese mainland traveling to Japan amounted to 1.41 million in 2010 and exceeded 200,000 in the first two months of this year. But foreign visitors to Japan in April were only a third of the number in the same month last year.

Katsuaki Suzuki, director of Shanghai Office of Japan National Tourism Organization, said during the Eighth World Travel Fair held from May 12 to 15 in Shanghai that the number of Chinese tourists had dropped by at least 50 percent, which meant a huge economic loss considering their purchasing power, according to a report on the website ifeng.com.

Though fear stoked by the leaking reactors still remains, people in China, especially the young, can easily get updates from various sources about what is happening at the power plant.

China's National Tourism Administration advised before the May Day holiday that people can travel to Japan since the nation has begun reconstruction and the quake-hit areas are returning to normal.

As a result, a number of Chinese tour groups, all with more than 10 members made the breakthrough and traveled around Kansai and Kyushu.

Kyodo News wrote in a special feature about their trips that Chinese visitors were warmly received everywhere they went and local officials greeted them and held banquets for them.


1. How many people will the first batch of Chinese tourists comprise of?

2. Where will they be flying to?

3. What was the recorded number of Chinese tourists to visit Japan in 2010?


1. 30 people.

2. Tokyo.

3. 1.41 million.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Chinese tourists start returning to Japan following earthquake

Chinese tourists start returning to Japan following earthquake

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.