Overtourism: Japan Divided on Charging Foreign Tourists Extra

Overtourism, Kyoto
Overtourism, Kyoto
© Ana Costa

Japan has been flooded with tourists lately, especially after everything with the pandemic. But along with all the visitors, there’s been some talk about prices that’s got people thinking.

You see, with the yen taking a bit of a dip, it’s good news for tourists coming in from other countries. But for locals, it means prices are creeping up, and that’s not so fun. This whole money situation has generated some pretty interesting conversations about whether we should have different prices for tourists and locals.

On May 5th, there was a big talk on Fuji TV’s “Sunday News THE PRIME,” and people had a lot to say. Over 23,000 people answered the poll, with 65% saying they’re okay with having different prices for tourists, while 30% weren’t so sure, and 5% were still trying to decide. It’s clear that this is a big deal and people have strong feelings about it.

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Now, you’ve got Governor Yuji Kuroiwa of Kanagawa Prefecture, who’s really not a fan of the separate pricing idea. He believes that everyone should be treated equally, especially foreign visitors, who greatly help the economy.

But then there are voices like Toru Hashimoto’s, who’s more into being practical and thinks tourists should pay a bit extra for the stuff they use. But Governor Kuroiwa is not convinced, pointing out how tourists already contribute a bunch through stuff like taxes and hotel fees.

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This isn’t just about money, though; it’s about what kind of image Japan wants to give off as a host nation. Finding that balance between making sure things add up economically and keeping that warm and welcoming nature alive is going to be pretty important as Japan gets back on track with tourism.

Sources: FNN Prime Online article and video

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