The government plans to keep the consumption tax rate at 8 percent for daily necessities such as food and beverages after the planned tax hike to 10 percent in October 2019. It is also considering offering 2 percent rebates for cashless payments at small and medium-sized operators for a limited period.
Tokyo’s 80-year-old seafood market, Tsukiji, closed on Saturday to move to its replacement site on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. The new Toyosu market is scheduled to open on October 11, with many shop owners and workers still doubting its safety.
People in Japan treated themselves to grilled eels on the midsummer Day of the Ox, which fell on Friday this year, following an old saying that consuming the dish on that day helps in coping with the heat. Retailers also promoted mackerel and other foods as substitutes amid soaring prices for the endangered fish.
Japan and the European Union on Tuesday signed an economic partnership agreement that will eliminate nearly all tariffs. Japan’s dairy industry is voicing concerns over losing market share, while its consumers are expected to enjoy lower prices for various products.
A new law regulating private lodging businesses took effect on Friday to cope with a shortage of accommodations amid a growing number of foreign tourists. The law allows anyone to lease their rooms for up to 180 days a year if they register with their local government in advance.
Japan introduced its first plea bargaining system on Friday that allows prosecutors to promise leniency to suspects or defendants in exchange for information on corporate crimes. Unlike in the U.S., they cannot plead guilty to their own charges for a shorter sentence.
Telecommunications giant NTT group said on Monday that it will block access to three pirated manga websites in line with a government request. Some experts expressed concerns that the move could lead to widening censorship by authorities.
A tourism promotion video for Miyagi prefecture in northern Japan featuring a well-known model is receiving mixed reviews. Seven assembly women asked the governor on Friday to remove it because of some sexually suggestive scenes.
A giant panda gave birth to a cub at Ueno Zoo on Monday for the first time in five years, raising hopes of a tourism boost in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The economic impact of the baby panda is estimated at a staggering 26.7 billion yen.
Tokyo-based travel agency Tellmeclub, which specializes in discount overseas tours, filed for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court on Monday, affecting up to 90,000 people who have already paid for their trips.