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Record tourism seen in Japan in 2008: travel group

A record nine million foreigners are expected to visit Japan next year, drawn both by the country's culture and the upcoming Group of Eight summit, Japan's largest travel agency said Thursday.

The number of visitors will rise by 700,000 from an estimated 8.3 million who came this year, led by a spurt in travellers from other Asian countries, the Japan Travel Bureau said in an annual report.

Japan takes over from Germany in the new year as president of the Group of Eight major industrial nations. It will host a series of meetings culminating in the G8 leaders' summit from July 7 to 9 on the northern island of Hokkaido.

"Along with Japan's chairmanship of the G8, Japan's presence in the news across the world is expected to contribute to the attractiveness of Japan's major cities, starting with Tokyo, along with Hokkaido," the agency said.


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