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Japan plans to levy ¥1,000 departure tax starting in April 2019

JIJI

Japan plans to impose a ¥1,000 departure tax on everyone who goes abroad starting in April 2019, a plan drafted by the government and ruling coalition says.

The individual tax would be levied on those departing by plane or ship, with the revenue used to promote tourism.

The plan will be part of the ruling bloc’s fiscal 2018 tax reform package set to be compiled on Dec. 14. It would be Japan’s first new type of tax since the land value levy was established in 1992.

A forest tax is also under consideration for the reform package to aid forestry development.

The tax panels of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, its coalition ally, held their first joint meeting on Friday and discussed the establishment of the departure tax. No objections were raised, but some of the participants said there was a need to limit how the new revenue would be used and to discuss low-fare airline and ship services. The panel will continue discussions on such details.

In 2016, some 40 million departures were logged by citizens and tourists, meaning a departure tax could generate an extra ¥40 billion each year.

Aiming to boost visitor numbers to 40 million by 2020, the government intends to use the funds to increase tourism promotion overseas and develop a friendlier environment for tourists, such as by preparing multilingual signs and improving immigration control procedures.