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First domestic duty-free shops open in Naha Airport

Date Posted: 2002-05-23

Two duty-free shops targeting domestic travelers were opened at Naha Airport, Monday. The two are the first of their kind in Japan, and are operated by DFS Group Ltd. of the U.S. that is the largest travel retailer in the world.

According to the shop operator, prices in the shops are between 20 percent and 40 percent cheaper than in regular retail shops in town. According to regulations, each traveler leaving Okinawa can buy 200,000 worth of duty-free items, such as alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, perfumes, wristwatches, jewelry and leather goods.

At the opening ceremony Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine expressed the high hopes that the prefecture officials place on the venture stating that "Okinawa may become one of the great shopping destinations in Asia as we aim to lure 6.5 million visitors a year."

The shops have a sales are of 300 sq. meters that they eventually plan to expand to about 740 sq. meters. The 1998 Okinawa promotion and development law made it possible for duty-free shops to be opened for domestic travelers in Okinawa.

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