Japan's range of duty-free items expanded to include food, alcohol, cosmetics, drugs


Food, alcohol, cosmetics and drugs can now be purchased duty-free by foreign visitors, after the government on Wednesday expanded the list of eligible products.

Until now, only electronics, clothing and bags have been eligible for sale without paying the consumption tax.

Waiving the 8 percent tax is expected to help local retailers ring up sales, particularly among rising numbers of Chinese visitors, government officials said.

The change coincides with the start of China’s weeklong National Day holiday.

Spurred by rising incomes and a weaker yen, the number of Chinese visitors to Japan is expected to approach a record 2 million this year.

From January to August, 1.54 million Chinese tourists visited, up 84 percent from a year earlier and an all-time high. The total in 2012, 1.42 million, was itself a record, according to figures from the Japan National Tourism Organization.

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