Why Japan’s gamble on casinos and Chinese tourists won’t fix its ‘tourism pollution’ problemBy Mercedes Hutton, South China Morning PostMay 8, 2018 at 8:02 amJapan has a problem with pollution, and it does not relate to issues of waste disposal. Rather, the rising numbers of visitors from afar have led to tourists themselves being viewed as pollutants, according to a May 5 article in The Japan Times newspaper, which states that the country’s media has christened the phenomenon kanko kogai, or “tourism pollution”.This has not always been the case, of course. In 2003, the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) launched its Visit Japan Campaign. “We are determined to welcome 10 million travellers from around the world by the end of 2010,” read a JNTO press release at the time, optimistically adding that, “We predict that increasing the numbers of visitors will bring both economic and cultural benefits to Japan.”It worked, at least in part. Although it missed the 2010 target, welcoming 8.6 million overseas travellers that year, the JNTO recorded 28.7 million arrivals in 2017, and its goal posts have moved accordingly. The country hopes to attract 40 million foreign visitors in 2020, a figure many see as achievable as Japan prepares to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games that year.