These days, tourism agency of Japan is trying its best to propose adding food and cosmetics to the list of duty-free items for travelers from abroad. These changes will be made as part of the agency’s fiscal 2014 reform plan, it was announced on Sunday, August 4, 2013. The proposal is aimed at attracting foreign travelers to reduce the impact of the first stage of the sales tax increase, which is planned for April 2014.


A survey by the agency stated that cosmetics and food accounted for two of the three most popular types of Japanese souvenirs in 2012. The survey mentioned that 58.2 percent of foreigners bought confectionery, while 51.4 percent of people bought food products, cigarettes and alcohol. Along with that, 38.5 percent people bought cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The survey also said that of the ¥1.09 trillion which was spent by foreign visitors in 2012, 31 percent was spent while shopping. According to the current situation, 5 percent sales tax is still being levied on food, as stores cannot be sure if the items will be consumed in Japan or taken abroad.

On the other hand, it is noticed that in many parts of the world – including European Union members – all products bought by foreign travelers are exempted from tax.

Photo Credits: DFSA