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S. Korean tourists rushing to Japan despite soured ties

Diplomacy 19:45 February 20, 2019

TOKYO, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- Nearly 780,000 South Koreans traveled to Japan in January, the largest number among foreign visitors to the nation during the month, according to a news report Wednesday.

A total of 779,400 South Koreans visited the neighboring country last month, Kyodo News reported, citing data from Japan's state tourism agency.

The figure is the biggest by country and region, although it represents a 3-percent decline from the same period last year.

It shows that Japan remains popular among South Korean travelers in spite of sharp diplomatic tensions between the two nations, primarily over Japan's wartime atrocities.

The two sides have also been at loggerheads over Tokyo's assertion that a South Korean naval destroyer locked fire-control radar on a Japanese maritime patrol plane during a low-altitude flyby in December. Japanese military aircraft repeatedly flew close to South Korean naval ships last month as well, Seoul's defense authorities said.

Around 2.7 million foreigners made trips to Japan last month, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier, Kyodo said. This includes 754,400 Chinese people, a 19.3 percent hike from the same month in 2018.


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