Sorry for the silence, been very busy trying to work out a return to Iwate sometime soon, had a few ends to chase and images to send out; and have also been using my spare time to make my new archive work better for me. You can see some of my images at my photoshelter site here, not much at the moment but am adding to it when I can.
The developing tourism industry in Japan has always had a passing interest for me, which is why I took the image above of some tourists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Still a relatively new business here it had been growing and was becoming a more important part of the economy with massive government investment and expectations.
Equally important, in my opinion, was the slowly developing detente that was happening between Japan and its Asian neighbours. There is some troubled history in these relationships but with more than six million Asian tourists arrived in Japan in 2010, most from Korea and China, it was becoming increasing difficult for animosity to exist on all sides.
Indeed Asian tourism is now essential to the industry in Japan and with Asia leading the way out of the global recession, particularly the unexpectedly fast recovery of the tourism business, Japan would be foolish to be anything other than welcoming. Its traditional openness to westerners is not going to help it much as only 798,304 people arrived from Europe and 727,200 from the United States in 2010.
Yet due to the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th and even more so the dangers of radio-active contamination from the troubles at Fukushima Daichi Power station tourism numbers this year are in free fall and the business faces an uncertain future.
Fascinating stuff but so much information it has been difficult to fit it all into what I want to write.