International Tourist Tax

This is Stephanie of IMS.

Beginning last month at the start of 2019, the Japanese Ministry of Finance instituted a new departure tax for each person leaving the country via air or sea, regardless of nationality. The relevant law was enacted in April 2018 and came into effect on January 7, 2019. Travelers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival, and those under the age of 2 years old, will be exempt from paying the 1,000 yen tax. Aircraft crew members, those being deported, diplomats, and armed service members will also not need to pay the departure tax.

Already, the departure tax is expected to pull in 6 billion in revenue by the end of March, which is the end to fiscal year 2018. The estimated revenue for fiscal year 2019 is expected to hit 50 billion yen. The revenue will be used to speed up the immigration process at airports, specifically through installing facial recognition gates and adding signage in multiple languages. The government also plans to promote public transportation services to expand free WiFi for passengers and options for electronic payment.

Although those against this departure tax say that it will negatively affect tourism, Japan is currently in a tourism boom, and more than 30 million tourists visited Japan during the 2018 calendar year. Prime Minister Abe is hoping to bring up to 40 million tourists by the time of the Olympics in 2020. The aim by 2030 is to double 2018’s numbers, with a target goal of 60 million tourists.