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Over 10m people flew between S. Korea, Japan in Jan-May, most in history

June 21, 2024 - 16:55 By Yoon Min-sik

Passengers for a flight bound for Japan are shown in this photo taken Friday at the Gimpo International Airport. (Yonhap)

A total of 10.15 million took international flights between South Korea and Japan from January to May of this year to mark an all-time high, government data showed Friday.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the number of passengers who flew between South Korea and Japan in that period increased by 46.2 percent compared to the same period the year before, which was 6.94 million. The previous high in this category was marked in the Jan.-May of 2019, which was 9.38 million.

In comparison, the number of people who flew between South Korea and its second closest neighbor China was 5.07 million.

Local airline industries believe that the steady depreciation of the Japanese yen in recent years has led to an increase in the number of South Koreans traveling to Japan. The Japanese currency has been slumping since 2022 and tumbled to a 34-year low of 160 yen to a US dollar in late April.

The South Korean won and the yen were traded at 1,000 won to 867.38 yen at one point in November 2023, which marked the lowest yen-to-won exchange rate since January 2008.

The financial incentive only propelled Japan's popularity as one of South Koreans' most beloved travel spots. Many here enjoy Japanese food and culture, alongside the fact that a flight between the two countries takes, at most, two hours.

Japan was chosen as the most cost-efficient country alongside Thailand, according to an April survey by a local research firm Consumer Insight on 9,375 people who traveled overseas between September 2022 and August 2023.

The travel cost for Japan was among the lowest, ranking 20th out of 27 countries in the survey, but the country ranked sixth in satisfaction. Other countries in the survey included Switzerland, Spain, Australia, the US, Canada, China and Malaysia.