There’s extraordinary hype about the consumption tax rise, and people in Japan, including foreigners, are creating an unnecessary hullabaloo about it.

We went to a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet for dinner. The restaurant was largely empty of people except for some who were waiting to have their dinners packed to take away. Outside, there was a huge line of cars at the drive-thru window. According to the shop assistant, drive-thru customers have increased significantly after the tax rise because the tax is 8 percent for take away, while it is 10 percent for those who eat inside the restaurant.

Looking at the long line of cars waiting to reach the drive-thru window with their engines running, I could not help but wonder what these people were gaining by picking up their dinners. With their engines running, they probably burn enough gasoline to compensate for the 2 percentage points in the tax they are saving when they have to pay for the food.

Moreover, they have to eat the food cold or warm it up again using electricity. And I am discounting the fact that both burning gasoline and using electricity certainly pollute the environment.

We human beings are a rather strange species, indeed. I hope the government makes good use of the taxes we pay to build a more sustainable future for the next generations.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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