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Japan expands tax-free shopping range

12 Comments

Japan on Wednesday expanded the tax exemption benefits allotted to foreign non-resident tourists (anyone who has lived in Japan less than six months) from general goods to also include consumables.

These tax-free stores are different from duty-free shops which deal with custom or border taxes.

Currently, Japan has 5,777 "export sales" stores (tax-free shops) with most being located in the Tokyo and Osaka areas; however, the Japan Tourism Agency is looking to expand the number to 10,000 and focus on regional areas to increase the sales of local specialty goods.

Compared with the European Union, Japan's system has the advantage of having the product sold at the tax-free price at the time of purchase instead of collecting a refund upon departure; or later in the case of credit card purchases. With those refund procedures and agency fees eliminated, the tourist can purchase products at a lower price, encouraging added consumption.

From Oct 1, the tax-free system has been expanded from general goods such as home electrical appliances, clothing (kimonos) and handbags to also include consumables including groceries, beverages (sake, alcohol), medicine, cosmetics, etc.

The monetary range for consumables falls between 5,000 yen and 500,000 yen purchased on the same day in the same store for one non-resident.

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12 Comments
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" With those refund procedures and agency fees eliminated, the tourist can purchase products at a lower price, encouraging added consumption."

Yes, lowering or removing consumption taxes altogether encourages consumption. Duh!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

So tourists wealthy enough to come to Japan for a holiday get tax exemptions on basic necessities such as food, yet the working poor in this society, some 30%, don't. Hmmm...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Tax-free alcohol sounds good to me. I'll be returning with some Japanese whiskey on my next visit.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What was the threshold before Oct 1? I was in a store in Akihabara 3 days ago and at the point of purchase was told I need to spend over 10000¥ before it was tax exempt. (Souvenirs)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, lowering or removing consumption taxes altogether encourages consumption. Duh!

Amazing that they seem to understand this concept, while at the same time their actions seem to show that they are completely oblivious to this concept.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think you still need to spend at least Y10,000 to get the tax off, just more stores will now be in on this

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hmm. I need to befriend some foreign non-resident tourists so that they will do a little shopping for me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think you still need to spend at least Y10,000 to get the tax off, just more stores will now be in on this

5,000

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When to and froming from Japan I have found that rather that buying duty free alcohol at the airport, it can sometimes be cheaper at the local liquor store ( and more choice ) . Being able to buy it from a liquor store tax free will be great.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All Japanese can go shopping duty free at Okinawa Airport even though it's a domestic trip as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Stewie - absolutely. Duty-free shops - especially those in airports - are overpriced. I always take my family and friends visiting Japan to big liquor shops in town where we can find Scotch, Gin etc for HALF the price of back home in Aus!

Love the cheap imported grog in Japan - and this change will make things even cheaper!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not that much of a savings really-buy a 5,000 bottle and save 400 yen. Hardly worth the hassle of the paperwork.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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