With the year 2019 displacing the old one, many people have taken to social media to address their ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutions.
I’m gonna eat right!
I’m gonna learn dancing!
I’m gonna get laid!
But what people fail to realise is that it’s not just humans celebrating the turn of the year.
Countries are, too.
For Japan, the city that’s so chock-full of adorable critters and gigantic robots… has come out with its own New Year’s Resolution:
To squeeze a little more money out of all of us.
And the ‘bad’ thing here?
It, unlike most of us, has already achieved its objective.
According to The Star, all travellers, foreign and local, leaving Japan will now have to pay a ‘Sayonara levy’ of 1,000 yen (approx. SGD 12).
This revelation comes after Japan’s Parliament passed the bill (that introduced the departure tax) back in April 2018. The new departure tax will be implemented on 7 January 2019, for every traveller that leaves the country via ship or plane.
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However, the departure tax will not be applicable to passengers below the age of two, as well as transit passengers exiting Japan within 24 hours. This falls under the law supported by the Upper House.
And while we’re on the topic, the new tax will be stacked on top of your usual flight or ship fares, so it wouldn’t be collected separately.
With this latest tax invasion in mind, you can’t help but wonder:
Where is it going?
But as it turns out, we need not worry. The Japan government has expressed plans to invest the tax’s revenue, that’s estimated to reach 43 billion yen (approx. SGD 330 million) yearly, in three major tourism-related projects:
- Boosting their tourism’s infrastructure
- Promoting travel destinations in rural Japan
- Funding for global tourism campaigns
Also, they’re looking to cash out on getting public transportation operators to expand the free WiFi services (yay!!!), as well as to enable availability of electronic payment systems to everyone.
Part of the revenue will be used to install gates with facial recognition too.
And to cap it all off, to ensure that there’s no misusing of funds ala k-drama cliches, the Japanese Parliament has passed a legislation that restricts the use of departure tax on Tuesday.
But before you cry foul like me
Japan’s not exactly the first country to pull off such a thoughtful move, as elsewhere, a number of countries have been ‘guilty’ of such measures for quite a while.
The U.S., for example, charges roughly SGD18 on international travellers. Australia, for another, charges a whopping US60 per traveller. And last but not least, South Korea charges SGD12 on air travellers.
Though that leads to a pretty interesting question:
Singapore to pull off such a move in a couple years’ time?
And so on an ending note…
I guess the all-important question is this:
To go or not to go.
But let’s face it, with a levy of SGD12 weighing us down…
I think we’re all still going anyway. Right guys?
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