More than 10,000 tax free shops open in Japan

The number of tax free shops in Japan, in which foreign visitors can buy products without the 8-percent consumption tax is expected to pass the 10,000-mark by the end of March.

The reason is the increased number of visitors from abroad attracted by cheaper Yen, and the expanded number of products that are available for purchase tax free. This has prompted many retailers in Japan to acquire tax free licenses recently.

In order to become a tax free shop, a retailer needs to get a license issued by the tax office. The national tax offices count the number of tax free shops each year. There were 9,361 tax free shops as of October 1st, 2014, in all of Japan, an increase of 3,584 shops from April 1st the same year. That indicates that the number must reach well over 10,000 by April.

According to Japan Tourism Agency, 56 shops have acquired tax free licenses in Okinawa since April 1st that brought the total number of the shops to 138 as of October 2014. A big boost for the industry came when the government added food, medical supplies and cosmetics from October 2014 to the list of items that can be sold tax free.