A Japan Tourism Agency panel on Thursday proposed imposing ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics a departure tax on people leaving the country.
An interim report submitted by the panel recommends that the tax be introduced by March 2020, and suggested an amount up to 1,000 yen ($8.8) per departing traveler.
The government, which aims to attract 40 million overseas visitors annually by 2020 and 60 million by 2030, wants to secure a steady revenue source to pay for measures to further increase the number of visitors to the country.
Revenue from the departure tax will likely be used to enhance security, speed up passage through immigration and customs, and to pay for increased multilingual signage.
A record 24.04 million foreigners visited Japan in 2016, while altogether about 40 million travelers departed the country when Japanese are included.
If a 1,000 yen departure tax on been collected, the revenue would have totaled about 40 billion yen ($353 million).
The ruling parties' tax committees will now discuss when and how to start collecting the tax, which the Finance Ministry said would be the first new, permanent national tax imposed since 1992 when the land value tax was implemented.
The suggested amount was determined based on similar charges in neighboring countries such as South Korea, and with regard to not putting off potential visitors.
Still some airlines and passenger ship companies, which would be responsible for collecting the tax from departing travelers, have expressed concerns the tax could reduce the momentum of the rise in visitors to Japan.
The tax should be implemented in a manner which does not "put a damper on inbound demand," Japan Airlines Co. President Yoshiharu Ueki said at a press conference in late October.