Taiwanese top ranking of foreign spenders in Japan

Taiwanese top ranking of foreign spenders in Japan
Taiwanese top ranking of foreign spenders in Japan

The Taiwan-Japan Relations Association told people visiting Japan not to buy products containing red yeast rice after it was linked to kidney problems

Taiwanese were the biggest spenders among foreign visitors to Japan last year, edging out visitors from China for the top spot, Japan Tourism Agency figures showed.

Taiwanese spent about ¥783.5 billion (US$5.16 billion) in Japan over the year, up 42 percent from 2019, the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Spending soared despite the total number of visitors from Taiwan falling 10.4 percent from 2019, Japan Tourism Agency figures showed.

Photo: Yang Yao-ju, Taipei Times

The increase in spending might have been because of the devaluation of the Japanese yen, which last year was worth 20 to 25 percent less against the New Taiwan dollar than in 2019.

China ranked just behind Taiwan in total spending last year, with 2.36 million visitors spending ¥760.4 billion, followed by South Korea with 6.94 million visitors spending ¥739.2 billion.

Overall, total spending by foreign visitors in Japan hit a record ¥5.31 trillion, up 10.2 percent from 2019, with spending by Taiwanese visitors accounting for 14.8 percent of the total, the data showed.

Taiwanese spent ¥274.2 billion on shopping, ¥220.3 billion on accommodation, ¥167.1 billion on dining, ¥79.8 billion on transportation and ¥41.4 billion on entertainment and other services.

Japan has long been a favorite destination of Taiwanese, and that was especially the case after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in late 2022.

Last year, 4.23 million Taiwanese visited Japan, compared with the 1.76 million who visited China, the second most popular destination, outbound traveler statistics for Taiwan showed.

While Taiwanese spent the most in Japan overall last year, visitors from Australia took the top spot with regards to average spending at ¥341,000 per person, followed by Spain at ¥336,000 and Italy at ¥334,000, the Japan Tourism Agency said.

In related news, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Deputy Secretary-General Fan Chen-kuo (范振國) yesterday warned people traveling to Japan not to consume or buy products containing red yeast rice.

The reminder came ahead of the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend, which starts tomorrow, as many Taiwanese are expected to travel to Japan, he said.

The Food and Drug Administration has asked Japan to provide export information on the red yeast rice used by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co, Fan said.

The drugmaker on March 22 said that its nutritional supplements containing red yeast rice might cause kidney problems.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan to monitor the issue and pass on related information to government agencies, Fan said.

The Japanese government is taking the issue seriously: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged a thorough investigation, and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said that the WHO would be kept informed, while Japan’s embassies abroad would share information related to the case, Fan said .

Additional reporting by Liu Tzu-hsuan

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Taiwanese top ranking foreign spenders Japan


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