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What’s behind Japan’s new International Tourist Tax?

Japan to impose tourist tax to visitors leaving longer than 24 hours.

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Starting this Monday, January 7, 2019, the Japanese government will be collecting 1,000 Yen (US$9.21) from each traveler leaving Japan. The new fee is called the International Tourist Tax. The new tax applies to all tourists, regardless of nationalities, and the mode of travel – be it by air or sea.

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) said in its brochure available on its website that the collection from the tourist tax will be spent to improve Japan’s tourism and immigration services, as well as in establishing more tourism-related developments. JNTO is an independent administrative agency of the Japanese government that promotes the country’s tourism sector.

“Revenues from the International Tourist Tax will be allocated to the following three areas: (1) Create a more comfortable, stress-free tourist environment, (2) Improve access to information about a wide variety of attractions of Japan, [and] (3) Develop tourist resources taking advantage of the unique cultural and natural assets of respective regions,” JNTO said.

“The international tourist tax is a scheme in which cruise lines and airlines (special tax collectors), in principle, must collect the international tourist tax from individuals departing from Japan (taxpayers), for example by including the amount in their ticket prices. The collected payments are remitted to the Japanese Government,” JNTO said in the document.

Exempted are visitors who will be staying not more than 24 hours, children ages two years old and below, and “people meeting certain conditions, and those leaving Japan on or after January 7, 2019, using an air ticket issued before January 7, 2019.”

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