The estimated number of foreigners arriving in Japan in January was down 61.7 percent from a year earlier to 17,800 people, due to strict border controls introduced to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, government data showed Wednesday.

The year-on-year number fell for the fourth month in a row. Since Nov. 30, Japan has banned entry by nonresident foreigners in principle, with authorities still struggling to stem the spread of the highly transmissible variant.

In January, the largest number came from India at 2,100 people, followed by the United States at 1,800, China at 1,500 and South Korea at 1,300, according to the data released by the Japan National Tourism Organization.

The total figure was down 99.3 percent if compared with that of January 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

In contrast, the number of Japanese nationals going overseas this January rose 54 percent from a year before to 75,000, according to the data.

But it was still 94.8 percent lower compared to departures in January 2019.

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