Singaporeans who travel to Japan will soon have to pay a "sayonara tax" when they leave the popular tourist destination.
Starting next year, travellers will be required to pay 1,000 yen (S$12.26) each when they leave Japan by airplane or ship, after the country’s Parliament passed a legislation on Wednesday (April 11) to adopt a departure tax.
The new tax — dubbed "sayonara tax" as a reference to the Japanese word for goodbye — is scheduled to be introduced on January 7, 2019. It is designed to build necessary infrastructure and improve services to accommodate an expected increase in the number of visitors to Japan toward and beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Under the law endorsed by the House of Councillors, toddlers under the age of 2 and transit passengers leaving Japan within 24 hours of arrival will be exempted.
Japan has enjoyed a surge in the number of inbound tourists who have helped lift the world’s third-largest economy in recent years.
The government hopes to boost tourism with the 43 billion yen it expects to raise a year from the departure tax as it seeks to attract 40 million visitors annually by 2020.
Tokyo estimates revenue from the new tax will reach 6 billion yen between January and March next year and plans to allocate part of it to the installation of facial recognition gates.
The Parliament has already passed legislation limiting the use of departure tax revenue to tourism-related projects, countering criticism that it could be diverted for other purposes.
Japan will adopt a new permanent tax for the first time since 1992.
Similar levies have been introduced in such countries as Australia and South Korea. KYODO NEWS