The number of foreign visitors to Japan soared 79.5 percent in January from a year earlier to about 2.69 million, reaching the level seen in the same month in 2019 before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

The number of overseas visitors has been growing after Japan lifted border control measures related to COVID-19 in late April. A weak yen has also been fueling the return of inbound tourists.

The impact of a powerful earthquake that rattled central Japan on New Year's Day has been "limited," although some people in South Korea and China canceled their trips to Japan in the wake of the quake, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

By country and region, the largest number of travelers came from South Korea at 857,000, up 10.0 percent from the same month in 2019, followed by those from Taiwan at 492,300, up 27.0 percent, and those from China, which has been slower than other countries in easing travel restrictions, at 415,900, down 44.9 percent, the data showed.

Visitor arrivals to Japan from South Korea, Taiwan and Australia logged single-month highs.

The number of Japanese traveling overseas in the reporting month jumped 89.3 from a year earlier to 838,600 but was still down 42.3 percent compared with the number observed in January 2019.

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