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Will Japan’s new tourist tax make visitors feel more welcome?

Will Japan’s new tourist tax make visitors feel more welcome?
A man walks in a stretch of Tokyo's Asakusa area. (Martin Bureau / AFP/Getty Images)

Japan wants to make your next visit smoother, starting with a new tourist tax aimed at creating “a more comfortable, stress-free tourist environment,” a government statement says. The tax that went into effect Monday charges international travelers 1,000 yen, or $9.19, when they leave the country.

The tax started Monday and is rolled in to the cost of tickets issued by airlines, travel agents and cruise lines. Children younger than 2 are exempt, as are transit passengers in the country for less than 24 hours.

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The country anticipates a jump in tourism during the run-up to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“Japan wanted money to pay for technology terminals to process visitors quicker and to add improved international language signage throughout the country,” World Travel & Tourism Council research director Rochelle Turner told Yahoo Finance.

Improving tourist information centers, creating more signs for visitors, and making tablets with multilingual content available are other improvements cited in a pamphlet explaining the tax.

Japan received more than 30 million foreign visitors in 2018, setting a record, according to Japan National Tourism Organization.

Many countries charge tourist taxes. Since 2016, the U.S charges international travelers $13.41 when they enter and when they exit.

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