Japan begins collecting Y1,000 departure tax to fund inbound tourism promotion plan
Japan Times -- Jan 08
Japan started collecting a ¥1,000 departure tax Monday from each traveler leaving the country in an effort to fund measures to attract more foreign visitors in the run-up to and beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The new tax, which applies to both air and sea travel, will be tacked onto transportation fares of passengers who bought tickets from Monday onwards irrespective of their nationality. Children under the age of 2 and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival will be exempted. The levy will also not be imposed on those who depart after entering the country due to bad weather or other unavoidable circumstances.

The tax income will be allocated mainly for three purposes, according to the government’s policy. Those are said to be providing smoother travel services, facilitating access to information about the country’s tourist attractions, and improving visitor satisfaction levels by promoting tourism resources in regional areas on topics such as unique local culture and natural features.

The levy is the first new permanent tax to be introduced since the land value tax came into force in 1992.

In fiscal 2019 the government estimates revenue generated by the departure tax will reach ¥50 billion. It plans to use the money mostly for introducing more facial recognition gates at air and seaports for speedier immigration procedures and making more information available in multiple languages at cultural properties and national parks.

Japan has enjoyed a surge in the annual number of inbound tourists in recent years, topping the 30 million mark for the first time in 2018 according to the Japan Tourism Agency.

That growth was helped by a steady increase in Asian tourists, particularly from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, government data shows.

Aiming to welcome 40 million foreign visitors by 2020, the government plans to use the tax revenue to attract more visitors from Europe, too.

『国際観光旅客税』いわゆる『出国税』が7日から始まった。日本から海外へ出国する際の飛行機や船の料金に1人あたり1000円が上乗せされる。2歳以上の日本人と外国人が対象で、財務省は年間500億円程度の税収を見込んでいる。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
Jan 20
More than half a million high-school students and graduates across Japan are putting their knowledge to the test at unified college and university entrance exams. (NHK)
Jan 20
Police in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, have arrested an 80-year-old man on suspicion of murder after he threw oil on his 79-year-old wife and set fire to her inside a car. (Japan Today)
Jan 19
Japan's Epsilon-4 rocket has put into orbit seven small satellites that were developed by private-sector companies and universities. (NHK)
Jan 19
The body of a man struck by an oncoming train at a station in Fujimi City hit and injured two women on the platform, police said on Friday, reports TV Asahi. (tokyoreporter.com)
Jan 19
Kanagawa Prefectural Police are hunting for a gunman who shot the wife of a boss in the Inagawa-kai criminal syndicate and his male driver on a road in Kawasaki City on Thursday, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Jan 18
A Japanese court has turned down an appeal from Carlos Ghosn's defense team over a decision to deny the former Nissan Motor chairman bail. (NHK)
Jan 18
A work of graffiti found at a Tokyo waterfront is receiving special treatment. (NHK)
Jan 17
A Japanese court has ruled that a subway firm's severe evaluation of personnel with beards or mustaches was unfair, and ordered that damages be paid. (NHK)
Jan 17
Executives at major Japanese food maker Ajinomoto say they are raising prices of instant soup stocks and salt for home use, citing higher costs. (NHK)
Jan 17
Tokyo Metropolitan Police are planning to send 10 men to prosecutors over an incident in which a mob damaged a truck during Halloween festivities in Shibuya Ward last year, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)