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Japan retailers target new big spenders - tourists

Published on May 21, 2014 5:23 AM

TOKYO (REUTERS) - In ageing Japan, retailers are waking up to a hot new demographic: foreign visitors.

Driven by government tourism promotions and lately a weaker yen, the number of inbound travellers has quietly doubled in the past decade to top 10 million for the first time last year.

In 2013, they spent US$14 billion (S$17.5 billion) on everything from powdered green tea to Prada handbags, to rare, red-coral rings.

With a doubling to 20 million visitors targeted by 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, the growing flow of cash is welcome for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he seeks to nurse a recovery in consumer spending through a national sales tax hike.

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