Japan will now charge a departure tax in order to improve tourist infrastructure. When leaving the country, tourists AND citizens will be charged a fee of $9.23 (¥1,000).
Japan expects the new tax to bring in over $460 million (¥50 billion) for the 2019 fiscal year. When boarding a plane or boat, tourists must pay the tax to a Japanese official. The only people who are excused are ship aircraft crew members, people being deported, those in the country for less than 24 hours, cruise passengers who enter the country due to weather or any other uncontrollable circumstances, children under two, diplomats, and U.S and U.N armed forces.
Japan is not the only to charge a departure; Australia, China, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mexico, and Sweden all charge their visitors upon leaving. Malaysia will also be levying a departure tax this June.
Labeled as the “International Tourist Tax”, the Japanese government set the tax to raise funds in order to make Japan a more desirable tourist destination. The pressure is on considering Tokyo will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. Some argued that if anything that would drive people away from wanting to come to the country.
According to USA Today, Japan hopes that the 2020 event will attract 40 million visitors, while others believed that the new tax would deter tourists, dropping that number to 7 million. The tax proposal has been debated for quite some time as opinions are highly conflicting.
The tax was made in order to help Japan, “create a more comfortable, stress-free tourist environment, improve access to information about a wide variety of attractions of Japan, (and) develop tourist resources taking advantage of the unique cultural and natural assets of respective regions.”