Five JR companies (Hokkaido, East Japan, Tokai, Shikoku and Kyushu) have started the sales of commuter passes that can be used from April 1 a week earlier than in usual years. The purpose is to avoid the tickets offices getting overwhelmed after the consumption tax goes up from 5% to 8% on April 1.
Normally they start sales of commuter passes a week before their starting date. JR officials said long queues in 1997 -- when the consumption tax was last hiked -- caused chaos. The rail operators are advising commuters to purchase their passes sooner rather than later.© Japan Today