Japan’s tourist industry is bracing for an influx of foreigners after the nation experienced the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the end of World War II.
A decade ago, the country was among the first to open its borders to foreign nationals after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown.
But this year, the influx of tourists from around the world has hit the brakes.
“We have not had any new visitors since the crisis,” said Katsuhiro Suzuki, head of Japan’s tourism bureau, at a recent news conference.
He added that it was unlikely that foreign tourists would be returning this year.
“I don’t know how long it will last,” Suzuki said.
The nation’s tourism industry is already reeling from the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
More than half of Japan is still without power.
The Japanese government has shuttered restaurants, shops, hotels and other businesses.
Many restaurants and bars have closed altogether, and many shops have gone dark.
The country has lost nearly half its population since the tsunami hit the northeast region of Fukushima on March 11, 2011, when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake knocked out the Fukushima reactors, triggering the meltdown.
More people died in the disaster, but the majority of the casualties were from radiation sickness.
The government is working to rebuild the region.
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