Food & Drink

Japan Wants Tax-Free Liquor for Tourists

Yet another reason to book a flight to Japan: The Japanese Tourism Agency is pushing for tourists to be exempt from paying taxes on Japanese-produced alcoholic beverages in the hopes that it will increase sales and interest in local products.

“If the number of foreign tourists who buy sake rises and raises the profile of Japanese sake culture, it is expected that exports will expand and foreign visitors will grow,” a Tourism Agency official told Kyodo News.

The new tax rules would only apply to bottles sold at Japanese distilleries and breweries, along with a few additional approved shops like airports. But don’t even think about cracking that shochu open until you’re back home—the law would prohibit buyers from consuming their purchases while in Japan (though that may be a bit difficult to enforce).

Japan already increased its list of duty-free items in 2014 to include food and cosmetics, which helped increase tourism and sales, according to The Drinks Business. The official request to remove the liquor tax for tourists will soon be submitted to the Finance Ministry, and if approved, these changes would go into effect at the start of the fiscal year in April—which gives us just enough time to start saving for a trip to Tokyo.