Surprisingly, a lot of Japanese say they no longer prioritize traveling.
The highest percentage of any nation, 35% of Japanese respondents said they would not travel again, according to a survey conducted by Morning Consult last year.
The findings, according to Tetsu Nakamura, a tourism behavior and psychology specialist and professor at Tamagawa University, are not at all surprising.
According to Nakamura, “Japanese people who traveled abroad at least once a year made up about 10% of the population in 2019 even before the pandemic.”
A 2016 study by Nakamura found that there are “passivists,” or people who say they want to travel abroad but won’t, and “denialists,” or people who say they don’t want to travel abroad but won’t.
In his pre-pandemic study, these two groups together account for approximately 70% of respondents, with “denialists” accounting for approximately 30%.
Happy at home
According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, despite having the strongest passport in the world, fewer than 20% of Japanese people actually have passports.
Domestic trips within Japan are sufficient for some of these “never travelers.”
According to Nakamura, “many Japanese feel that overseas travel is time-consuming even before they step foot on foreign land, that it takes a lot of time, skill, and planning.”
This resonates with Hiroo Ishida, a 25-year-old caregiver from Chiba Prefecture who is a motorcycle enthusiast with a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles.
“I have a slight desire to travel to the United States, primarily due to the fact that Western media depicted Japan as the destination of choice for motorcyclists there, but I probably won’t because planning it would be an inconvenience. According to Ishida, there are numerous destinations in Japan that motorcyclists find appealing.
His most recent excursion was a school field trip to Guam; Since then, he adds, he has never felt the need to travel abroad.
According to Kotaro Toriumi, a travel and aviation analyst from Japan, people are less likely to travel abroad because of the pandemic’s complicated travel procedures and infection risk.
He also asserts that the “Japanese mindset” has changed as a result of the pandemic.
“People who used to travel are now afraid to travel abroad due to the infection risk, but they are fine traveling within the country. According to Toriumi, “I think they are realizing that there are many attractive tourist spots within Japan and people can have fun without traveling abroad.”
The analyst makes the observation that individuals who state that they “never want to travel again” may simply be reluctant to travel soon until the pandemic has been completely eradicated.
Less money, more problems
Additionally, travel expenses are taken into account.
Many Japanese workers haven’t had a raise in 30 years, and the yen is at its lowest point in decades.
Young people may be more likely to stay at home or visit nearby locations if they have less money to spend.
Due to their lack of resources, they are less likely than older generations to travel abroad. Additionally, many young people prefer smartphone games and online entertainment to traveling abroad, according to Toriumi. After Covid settles down, many elderly people would like to return to traveling abroad.
Aki Fukuyama, 87, is a financial executive for a hospitality conglomerate who is “half-retired.” He has been on numerous golf trips abroad and wants to go back, but his health and age are the main reasons he won’t make another one.
He stated, “I frequently went abroad until about 15 or 20 years ago.” The fact that most of my friends have passed away is not helping. I intend to travel within the United States, possibly nearby if invited.
Constituency and conformity
According to Nakamura’s research, people who have always wanted to travel wouldn’t let social conformity get in the way of their desire to do so because positive attitudes prevail over external pressure to avoid traveling.
According to Nakamura, “people who have always had positive views regarding overseas travel attempt to do so as soon as they get the opportunity.” This holds true prior to and following the pandemic. People who are currently traveling abroad are those who can’t wait to return home.
Yuma Kase, 25, works in finance in Tokyo. She says she enjoys traveling to new countries and getting to know people from different backgrounds.
I feel that getting ready to travel to another country is a part of the journey and the excitement. I look forward to the fact that I will have to practice what to say when I get there or conduct research on cultural differences, “Kasse says.
However, her enthusiasm for exploring is not genetic. Her mother dislikes traveling and prefers to adhere to a consistent daily routine. In 2022, my mother only went to an outlet mall, “Kase chuckles.
The Japan National Tourism Organization’s most recent statistics show that the number of Japanese tourists traveling abroad decreased by 86.2 percent from 20 million in 2019 to 2.7 million in 2022.
According to Toriumi, “those who only used to go because it was cheap or don’t really like to travel…they are not traveling now.”