Japan must be one of the most popular travel destinations for travellers from Singapore. We have several direct flights connecting us, and we love its cleanliness, beautiful sights, and amazing food.
Now, brace yourself for the bad news. the Parliament has just passed the legislation that a new levy, of ¥1,000 (approximately S$12.24), called the “sayonara tax”, will be implemented from 7 Jan 2019. What this means is that all travellers – both foreign and Japanese – will have to pay a tax when they leave Japan via plane or ship. Two groups of people will be exempted: children under the age of two and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of their arrival.
The government expects to raise about ¥43 billion (S$526.3 mil) a year, and they will be using the money to improve infrastructure and services, including the installation of facial recognition gates, providing multilingual guides at national parks and cultural sites, and promoting tourism.
According to Jiji Press, the Japanese government has set goals for increasing foreign visitors: from 28.69 million in 2017 to 40 million in 2020, when the Tokyo Olympics will be held.
The “sayonara tax” is the first permanent tax implemented by Japan since 1992.