Japan considers duty free downtown store

By David Hayes |

The Japanese Government is considering allowing a duty free shopping facility to be set up in Daiba district, a major Tokyo tourist spot.

This latest Jiji Press agency news report appeared in the July 29, 2013 edition of The Japan Times and follows the launch of a Finance Ministry study in 2012 [reported exclusively by The Business], looking into the introduction of duty free arrival and downtown pre-order departure shopping.

Obviously any such a move could have huge implications for Japan’s duty free industry and the global market. Very well informed Japanese sources who did not want to be identified also told The Business that the current study is now part of the government’s committed effort to more than triple the annual number of foreign tourists visiting Japan to more than 30m by 2030.

Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga is said to have already directed related ministries to discuss the details, although sources close to this issue have told The Business that the Ministry of Finance has so far expressed caution on the subject of opening a duty free facility to open in Daiba.

Besides having the potential to generate a large increase in duty free revenue, any approval of duty free arrival and/or downtown shopping in Japan could obviously impact negatively on those duty free outlets in several countries where Japanese visitors are important and valuable spending customers.


The Finance Ministry originally launched the arrival and downtown shop study as part of a wider government taxation reform review that is aimed at identifying changes to help boost Japan’s future economic development.

Arrival shopping and downtown duty free retailing were included in the study after leading Japanese airports wrote to the government requesting changes be made to Customs Department regulations to permit the introduction of arrival shopping.

Airport operators are not the only organizations with a strong interest in the Ministry of Finance taxation reform review. Many Japanese city governments are interested in opening downtown duty free shops, casinos and other attractions to stimulate more foreign tourist visitors in an effort to boost their local economies.

Daiba district, also known as Odaiba, is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, which is connected to the rest of Tokyo by the Rainbow Bridge.

Japan Airport Terminal Co Ltd (Jatco), Japan’s largest duty free company, already operates a Giftrip by Japan Duty Free souvenir shop (See logo, here) on the fourth floor of Odaiba’s Aqua City complex, selling Tokyo omiyage (keepsake) souvenirs and other Japanese-made products including consumer electronics, watches and Japanese-brand cosmetics.

In addition to souvenirs and other Japanese products, The Giftrip by Japan Duty Free English language website already advertises a duty free pre-order service for collection on departure for customers using both Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. Click here for details: https://duty-free-japan.jp/narita/en/content_shop/shop_info_giftrip.html

[TOP IMAGES: The Daiba District – also known as Odaiba – in Tokyo].


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