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Regarding the May 19 Kyodo article “Japanese ‘tourist tax’ in Lake District (England) criticized“: There’s nothing unusual about shaking down Japanese tourists. At least that’s what I’ve seen on my visits to Honolulu and Hanauma Bay, Oahu. The Hawaiians, noted for their generosity in welfare benefits for state residents, have seen fit to raise their occupancy tax to nearly 13 percent these days. And visitors to Hanauma Bay will notice small tax-collector stands that try to extort a “voluntary” $5 collection for those who choose to visit this scenic area.

Locals, of course, don’t pay this contribution. They blithely walk by and head downhill to the beach just like me. Even the back-way area to Hanauma Bay has been blocked to try to get this money. I think it’s a disgrace the way Hawaii extracts money from tourists, particularly Japanese tourists who don’t appear brazen enough to scoot by as the locals do. There is also a nice sales tax on just about everything. We tourists don’t mind spending money voluntarily, but we really object to the tax-extortion methods used by local governments.

Now it seems that somebody in Britain has gotten the idea from Honolulu and passed a tax on to people from Japan. I say, look around and find places where one is welcome and where one is not looked upon as a tax contributor. Britain, once proud, is fading, and so should its “voluntary contribution” for the preservation of fantasy.

andrew j. betancourt

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