A new online platform launched Wednesday for non-Japanese taxpayers in the nation with the intention of getting more foreign residents to discover various regional attractions — both food and exclusive tours.
It aims to do this through the tax-deductible donation program known as furusato nōzei, which allows taxpayers to offer monetary donations to a prefecture, city, town or village of their choice outside of the one where they currently live. The donor then receives gifts from the recipient local government, often in the form of local products or culinary specialties.
The program is perennially popular among Japanese residents because donors get both gifts and tax deductions. However, very few websites associated with the program are offered in other languages and are generally unfriendly for non-Japanese residents, said Naomi Mano, who heads Luxurique, a Tokyo-based startup that rolled out what it claims to be the first multilingual platform for the program, called Furusato Japan.