Fine for Store Dodging Taxes: This Week in Osaka May 31st to June 7th 2024

Each week, here at, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Drug Store Faces Fine for Duty Free Scheme

One of Daikoku’s many branches in Osaka City

A group of drug stores in Osaka City faces a 300 million yen fine this week. Daikoku Co. which runs a chain of drug stores in Osaka, was hit with the fine after tax authorities concluded their investigation.

Two of the company’s subsidiaries, Dotonbori Daikoku and Chuo Daikoku stand accused of helping shoppers evade taxable duty on purchased goods. In principle, tourists only qualify for duty free status if they buy goods they intend to take home for personal use. However, it seems that several shoppers at Daikoku’s stores were actually planning to resell items after buying in bulk. Investigators allege the buyers colluded with Chinese companies to acquire the highly desirable goods. These goods would then go back to China, for resale at discounted prices.

Fine “Sends Important Message” About Duty Free Rules

Duty Free Shops are a huge part of tourism trade in Osaka.

It is often said that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. In levying this fine, the tax authorities seem to have taken this tack, as far as Daikoku are concerned.

The company did not, the allege, know for sure that the buyers were looking to evade taxes. However, the volume of items bought were clearly too much for personal use. There seems to be a clear suggestion that the items were not purchased for exclusively personal use. Tax officials therefore argued that Daikoku should have limited the amounts individuals could buy. Alternatively, they could stop selling to these buyers altogether. However, putting profit ahead of compliance, the company chose not to do so. This has now cost them a fine totaling more than 300 million yen. The ancient notion of Caveat Emptor, it seems, applies to sellers as well as buyers in this case.

In response, Daikoku’s representative told media outlets this week: “We take the tax authorities findings seriously, and will do all we can to ensure full compliance with duty free regulations in the future.”

One supposes only time will tell if that actually turns out to be the case.

All Not Fine and Well as Expo Looks to Youth For Support

Even Itami’s adorable Sora-Yan mascot looks somewhat uncomfortable next to the monstrous Myaku-Myaku.

As Osaka’s troubled 2025 Expo continues to lurch towards its opening in just under 10 months’ time, local government officials are turning to youngsters to drum up much needed enthusiasm. Under plans announced this week by Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, school children from across the Prefecture will receive an invitation to visit the site of the exhibition for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Reaction has, however, been somewhat tepid thus far.

Of the 1900 or so schools contacted about the visits, only about 60% have bothered to respond. One school official, who asked to remain anonymous spoke to this week about the situation. Their response was harsh, yet entirely understandable. They said: “Many schools feel that children’s time at school would be better spent on education rather than doing the government’s PR work for them.

“With so many schools in Osaka badly in need of renewal and renovation, there’s also quite a bit of anger too.”

Another teacher was somewhat blunter in their assessment: “The amount of money the city and the central government have blown on this nonsense could have completely regenerated every school in the city, and probably still had some left over to give us all a raise!”

If nothing else, this reporter admires the educator’s honesty.

And Finally…

Sumo continues to command huge interest worldwide.

Osaka’s Naniwa Ward opened a new attraction this past weekend. The Sumo Hall Hirakuza Osaka seeks to promote Japan’s national sport to a new generation of fans.

Situated on the upper levels of the popular Namba Parks shopping complex, the entertainment venue features the chance for visitors to get up close and personal with the wrestlers themselves. If you’re feeling brave, you can actually step into the ring and see how it feels to be a Rikishi (junior-ranked Sumo wrestler), as a huge foe barrels towards you.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather just sit back and watched the lively theater production depicting Sumo’s mythic origins, more than 1500 years ago.

Entry to the venue costs 16,000 yen per person for the premium, S-Class tickets. Performances take place twice daily at 6pm and 9pm.

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!


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