The main reason why many Japanese never leave the country

A significant proportion of Japanese respondents to a survey indicated that going abroad is not now at the top of their list of priorities.


According to a survey of 16,000 adults in 15 countries conducted last year by global analytics firm Morning Consult, 35% of Japanese respondents said they no longer want to travel. Approximately 15% of Koreans and 14% of Chinese said they would never travel again. 14% of Americans and 11% of Mexicans believe the same way. Notably, only about 45% of Japanese respondents said they planned to travel this year, compared to 65% in China and 66% in South Korea.

Tetsu Nakamura, a professor at Tamagawa University (Tokyo, Japan) – an expert in psychology and travel behavior, told CNN the results were “not surprising”. “Japanese people traveled abroad very little in 2019, even before the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nakamura said on February 19. Despite having “the most powerful passport in the world,” less than 20% of Japanese people apply for one, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. For those who “never travel abroad,” domestic trips in Japan are sufficient.

According to Japan National Tourism Organization statistics, after a rapid increase in international travel in the 1970s and 1980s, the number of Japanese nationals traveling abroad has largely leveled off since the middle of the year.

Notably, despite the incredible growth in international travel worldwide, only about 18 million Japanese traveled abroad between 2000 and 2017. According to some experts, the language barrier and a lack of regular vacations are two of the reasons why domestic travel is more popular in Japan. The diversity of nature, history, and culture in Japan is another factor that makes Japanese people fearful of traveling abroad.

“Many Japanese people believe that traveling abroad takes a long time. They believe it takes a significant amount of time, skill, and planning” said Nakamura. Hiroo Ishida, a large displacement motorcycle enthusiast from Chiba Prefecture, says “traveling abroad” is not for him.

“I have a little bit of a desire to go to the US, mainly because it is a place for those who love large displacement motorcycles. But I doubt I’ll go because even planning is inconvenient “Ishida added that Japan has many destinations for motorcycle enthusiasts as well.

“My most recent trip abroad was a school field trip to Guam (a US overseas territory). “I’ve never felt the need to travel abroad since,” Ishida said. added more. According to Kotaro Toriumi, a Japanese airline and travel analyst, stereotypes about complicated foreign travel procedures during the pandemic, as well as concerns about contagion, have kept Japanese people from traveling abroad. “The pandemic has altered the Japanese travel mindset. People who used to travel are now afraid to travel abroad to avoid infection. I believe they are becoming more aware of the abundance of appealing tourist attractions. “With a guide in Japan, people can have fun without traveling abroad,” Toriumi explained.

The Japanese yen’s drop to a 33-year low, combined with many Japanese workers who haven’t received a pay raise in 30 years, are powerful influences that make it difficult for many to afford to travel abroad. Instead of traveling abroad, young Japanese people prefer to stay at home or explore their own country.

“Compared to the older generation, young people go abroad less because they don’t have much money. “Many young people prefer online entertainment or smartphone gaming to traveling abroad,” Toriumi explained.

Aki Fukuyama, 87, a retired hotel group’s chief financial officer, said he has taken many golfing trips abroad. Fukuyama wishes to continue, but health and age are the primary reasons he is unable to travel internationally. “I used to travel abroad frequently about 15-20 years ago. “Right now, I only intend to travel domestically, perhaps somewhere nearby if someone invites me,” Fukuyama explained.

According to the most recent Japan National Tourism Organization data, the number of Japanese tourists traveling abroad will have decreased by 86.2% by 2022. “Those who used to only travel on a budget no longer want to go. “I’d like to travel more,” Toriumi said. Mr. Tetsu Nakamura, a professor at Tamagawa University, has found that “foreign travel enthusiasts” will have a positive attitude despite social pressure.

“People who always have a positive view of foreign tourism will try to do it as soon as they have the opportunity. This is true both before and after the pandemic, according to Nakamura. Yuma Kase, a 25-year-old financial worker in Tokyo, says she enjoys traveling to new places and meeting people from various backgrounds.

“Visiting a foreign country is an exciting adventure that I always strive for. Meanwhile, my mother dislikes traveling and prefers to stick to a strict daily schedule. “The farthest my mother traveled in 2022 was to a shopping mall,” Kase explained.

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