According to The Asahi Shimbun, tourists may be forced to cough up a "sayonara tax" when they leave Japan.
The new tax would raise cash for the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) to bolster its PR campaigns overseas and expand multilanguage services in Japan.
The exit tax will be one proposal on the table to help the government hit its target of attracting 40 million overseas tourists by 2020.
In 2016, Japan saw the number of foreign arrivals topping 24 million, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent.
But it is proving an enormous challenge to hit the 2020 target as it amounts to a rise in visitors of more than 60 percent from 2016.
The agency argues that it will need to raise Japan's global profile to attract more visitors, and the proposed tax will provide the funds to enable this.
Any such sayonara tax would be certain to draw fire from tourists, as well as from the tourism and aviation industries.
“There is no way we will support it," said one official in the tourism industry.
An official with a leading carrier said the aviation industry could be hit hard if the tax was steep.
The JTA plans to lay out a policy on how to expand revenues by the end of 2017 by forming a panel as early as September. Officials in the tourism and aviation industries are expected to sit on this committee.
The agency mentioned the exit tax in a report it compiled Aug. 29 on requests for tax reform for fiscal 2018, referring to departure taxes in Australia and South Korea as examples.
Passengers leaving Australia by air or sea are required to pay about 5,000 yen ($US 45), according to the JTA.
In South Korea, about 1,000 yen is included in air fares and 100 yen in sea fares as an exit payment.
The agency will consider an option to charge a departure tax only on visitors from overseas as their number has surged in recent years.
In contrast, the number of Japanese travellers overseas has stagnated due to terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere, and the depreciation of the yen has not helped.
The JTA says a wide range of measures should be implemented to hit the 2020 target, including staging more PR events abroad and offering services in many languages in Japan.
The tourism-related initial budget request for fiscal 2018 was 24.7 billion yen, up by 17 percent from the current fiscal year.
If foreigners and Japanese were each charged 1,000 yen when they leave Japan, the arrangement would bring in about 40 billion yen to national coffers. In 2016, about 17 million Japanese departed the country.
But major Japanese airports are already collecting 1,000 yen to 3,000 yen per adult from passengers on international flights as an airport charge.
In addition to the expected resentment in tourism-related industries, skeptics say there is no guarantee that expanded PR campaigns overseas and multilanguage services will ensure a sharp rise in foreign tourists to Japan.
The fate of the proposed sayonara tax will likely hinge on whether the agency can convince the Finance Ministry and ruling Liberal Democratic Party of exactly where the proposed tax would be spent and whether the benefits would be commensurate with the new tax burden.
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