Spring Festival used to be a festival only for resident Chinese in Japan but, through the travel and entertainment industries, businessmen are now ensuring that it receives greater limelight.
In 2005, Japan launched the "Yokoso! Japan Weeks" (welcome to Japan weeks) during Chinese lunar New Year, aiming to attract more foreigners, especially Chinese, to visit Japan during Spring Festival and, in turn, to experience Japanese culture at close hand.
This year's Japan Week was launched in Tokyo on Jan 19th. The 40-day (January 20th to February 20th) long weeks will enrich the year of pig in Japan with a local flavour.
Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister, as well as the Chinese and South Korean ambassadors to Japan, attended the opening ceremony of "Japan Weeks".
Travelers are promised free visits to various attractions, as well as discounted access to traditional art performances and historical sites.
About 7, 300, 000 foreigners visited Japan in 2006, and the number is estimated to reach 8,100,000 in 2007.
(CRI.com January 31, 2007)