Japan's proposed departure tax draws mixed views, poses challenges
Kyodo -- Dec 27
Japan's planned introduction of a "departure tax" on international travelers has received a mixed response, with many questions yet to be answered about how the revenues will be spent.

Hopes are high that the recent tourism boom will continue beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, when the government aims to attract 40 million visitors to the country that year.

But the surge in visitors is also making it imperative for debt-ridden Japan to secure enough funding to improve infrastructure and services for foreign tourists in a country that prides itself on its "omotenashi" hospitality.

Some visiting tourists appear supportive of the move to require each passenger to pay 1,000 yen ($8.9) every time they depart Japan by air or sea. But other travelers, including Japanese going abroad, are unconvinced how they are going to benefit from it.

"Paying a tax does not sound good," said Wang Pei Hsien, a 47-year-old tourist concluding a six-day visit from Taiwan. "But if I can get better services here, I think it's OK," she said before flying out of Tokyo's Haneda airport.

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito party included the introduction of the new tax for international travelers in their reform package approved Thursday.

News source: Kyodo
Jan 17
Spending by visitors from abroad during their stays in Japan exceeded 4 trillion yen for the first time on record in 2017, the Japan National Tourism Organization said in a preliminary report on Tuesday. (Jiji)
Jan 16
Discount retailer Don Quijote Co. unveiled a renovated Ferris wheel Monday in Osaka’s Dotonbori shopping district. (Japan Times)
Jan 15
About 2,000 women who are or will turn 20 years old as of April 1 took part in an annual New Year archery event for new adults at Sanjusangendo, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, on Sunday. (Japan Today)
Jan 15
Grab your towel because it's time for an epic Japanese onsen bath adventure! We will explore 12 Onsen Towns, hopping from one to another as a "bath tourist" around Fukushima. Naked outside in the snow? It's part of the fun! (ONLY in JAPAN)
Jan 12
Japan received a record number of overseas visitors in 2017 for the fifth straight year, with the greatest growth coming from Asian countries, where low-cost air carriers are expanding service. (Nikkei)
Jan 05
The Japanese government will launch a project to convert all traditional squat toilets in popular tourist destinations into sit-on types that are more commonly used in other developed countries. (NHK)
Jan 01
Millions on Japanese ushered in the new year early Monday by visiting shrines, as well as going to vantage spots to watch the first sunrise (hatsuhinode) of 2018. (Japan Today)
Dec 31
A section near Tokyo's Shibuya railway station will be made a vehicle-free promenade for the upcoming New Year's countdown. (NHK)
Dec 31
The capital saw its first snowfall of the season on Sunday as cold air gripped eastern Japan with the approach of a low pressure system, the Meteorological Agency said. (Japan Times)
Dec 30
Japanese travelers are crowding highways, train stations and airports as they head to their hometowns and leisure spots for the New Year holidays. (NHK)