Panel eyes letting rich foreigners stay for long periods

JIJI

A government panel discussing measures to boost tourism has drawn up an interim report proposing a new type of entry qualification that would allow wealthy foreigners to stay in the country for several years.

Based on the interim report compiled Monday, the panel will release a final report next month for submission to a ministerial forum on tourism.

Currently, Japan allows foreigners to stay in the country for long durations only for the purposes of business and study.

Australia and Malaysia, meanwhile, have entry qualifications allowing foreigners to stay for several years if they meet certain conditions — including their total assets and ages — even if their stays are not business- or study-related.

The government will set details of the planned new entry qualification while studying the two countries’ systems.

In the interim report, the panel also called for a study on expanding the scope of products covered by the consumption tax refund program for foreign visitors, possibly to include cosmetics and food.

It hopes to include the change in the government’s fiscal 2014 tax system reform package.

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