Foreign Tourist Tax Delayed: This Week in Osaka May 3rd to 10th 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.

Foreign Tourist Tax Plan Delayed Amid Scrutiny

Hirofumi Yoshimura’s plan has come under fire in recent days.

The future of a controversial tax on foreign visitors to Osaka looks uncertain this week. Under the proposed scheme, set for introduction next year, foreign visitors to facilities and accommodations in Osaka Prefecture would face an additional tax levy, over and above the existing consumption tax. However, Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura confirmed rumors of a delay in the implementation of the tax this week.

Yoshimura said this week: “We don’t intend to force the foreign tourist tax’s implementation ahead of the opening of the Osaka Expo.”

Yoshimura previously stated he intended to begin collection of the new tax on foreign visitors from April 2025. This is the same month that the much-maligned Osaka Expo is due to open its doors to the public for the first time.

However, amid hostility from both the business community and rights groups, doubts continue to linger as to whether this new tax burden for foreign tourists will ever come to be.

Targeting Foreign Tourists Exclusively “Potentially Unconstitutional”

This popular photo spot near Mt Fuji was recently blocked off due to too many tourists.

Leading the charge against a new tax on foreign tourists is the business community.  They acknowledge the problem of “over-tourism” particularly since the end of the pandemic. However, business leaders also believe that a blanket tax on all foreign tourists may be something of an “overcorrection.”

Representatives from the Bureau of International Expos, a France-based firm helping to oversee the Osaka expo, expressed concerns this week. Primarily, they worry that levying this foreign tourist tax on Expo visitors may “send an unwelcoming message.”

Osaka residents seem unimpressed on both sides of the debate.

One Kita Ward resident said: “If this tax brings in some extra money to help plug the huge gap this needless Expo has created then they need to implement it as soon as possible.”

There were, however dissenting voices too. Another Osaka resident, from Suminoe Ward had this to say.

“Making all tourists pay for the problems caused by tourism isn’t fair. Make those who cause trouble pay fines for their poor behavior. Don’t punish everyone because a minority can’t control themselves.”

Beyond these viewpoints, lies the wider issue of the constitutionality of any such foreign visitor tax. Without any precedential laws to draw from, many legal minds warn a tax levied on people based on their nationality could be discriminatory. There is also the issue of collection, and how to effectively tell the difference between foreign tourists and foreign residents of Japan, who already pay all the same taxes as Japanese citizens.  

Daihatsu’s Osaka Plant Resumes Production

Daihatsu specializes in smaller vehicles such as minivans.

Months after a safety test scandal forced the closure of Daihatsu car production plant in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture finally resumed operation this week. The plant had been out of action since February. It was then that a series of revelations about the falsification of safety test data led to a shipment ban. The government lifted the ban last month. Since then, Daihatsu has slowed restarted its operation on a phase by phase basis. The resumption of full operations at the Ikeda plant completes this process. The Osaka factory was the last of Daihatsu 4 main plants to come back online.

Investigators continue to look through evidence dating back decades relating to the falsified safety checks. Daihatsu certainly isn’t out of the woods just yet.

And Finally…

It’s a good time to be a Gamba Osaka fan right now.

It was derby day in Osaka last weekend. Gamba met Cerezo in the J-League’s J1 Soccer Championship. Fans packed out The Panasonic Stadium, hoping to see Gamba notch their first win against the visitors in over 5 years.

In the end, the blue and black clad crowd were not disappointed.

The derby was a tense, hard fought affair. What the teams may have lacked in creativity and flair, they more than made up for with guile and grit.

Such games are were legends are forged, and this derby was no exception. The hero of the hour was Gamba’s captain Takashi Usami. His 28th minute, long range effort gave the home side a 1-0 victory. Not only was this Usami’s 250th top flight match for Gamba, it was also his 32nd birthday. Suffice to say, many of the Gamba fans probably felt their brithday’s had come early too as that final whistle blew. The win moves Gamba onto 18 points, seven points adrift of surprise J-1 leaders Machida Zelvia.

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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