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Chinese Tourism Boom May Prove Damp Squib in Japan, Asahi Says

Japan’s plan to ease visa restrictions on tourists from China may not have the desired effect of pump-priming the economy by boosting consumer spending, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported today.

While Japan’s Tourism Agency predicts the number of Chinese tourists will jump 80 percent this year to 1.8 million people, their spending has so far failed to have much impact on the moribund domestic economy, the paper said, citing Ryoji Maku, a senior researcher at Mitsubishi Research Institute Inc. Consumer spending accounts for more than half of Japan’s gross domestic product, the paper said.

Chinese tourists have each spent about $1,470 on trips to Japan, the paper said. The new tourists being targeted are less wealthy middle-class Chinse and may spend less, the paper said, citing a department story executive it didn’t identify.

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