Get Ready To Pay 1,000-Yen When Leaving Japan From January 2019
From 7 January 2019 onwards, all travellers will have to pay 1,000 yen (approx. RM36) while leaving Japan under a new departure tax
According to a report Nikkei Asian Review, the new departure tax is part of an effort to raise 40 billion yen annually to boost tourism in the country.
The new tax, which begins next year, will be levied on foreigners and Japanese alike when they buy tickets to leave Japan by plane or ship.
Nikkei Asian Review reported that airlines and travel companies will need to update their booking system to collect the new departure tax.
"We are trying to gauge how big of an update," an official from All Nippon Airways was quoted as saying by Nikkei Asian Review
There are two categories of people who will be exempted
Under the tax, which obtained approval from the Diet (Japan's Parliament) on Wednesday at the plenary session of the upper house, toddlers under the age of two and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of their arrival will be exempted.
The Diet also passed a legislation to ensure that the revenue from the departure tax cannot be used outside tourism-related projects
According to a report in The Mainichi, Japan's national daily, the legislation also encourages operators of public transportation services to enhance access to Wi-Fi along with improving electronic payment systems.
The Japanese government will use the money raised to help tourists enjoy "pleasant and stress-free" trips, facilitate access to information on tourist attractions and prepare resources for visitors to experience Japanese culture and nature, the report said.
Based on the 40 million people who departed Japan in 2016, it is estimated that the new tax could generate about ¥40 billion in a fiscal year.
The new levy is similar to the departure tax charged by other countries such as the United States, Australia and South Korea
Meanwhile, Singapore's Changi Airport, which currently charges departing passengers SGD3, will raise the departure tax by SGD13.30 from 1 July onwards to help fund a major airport expansion, involving the building of Terminal 5.