Japan Clamps Down On Cross-Border Ecommerce

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The Japanese government has introduced a new rule meaning that Japanese consumers must now pay taxes on goods such as music downloads and e-books bought from foreign websites. The tax currently stands at 8%, and this will rise to 10% in April 2017. Previously, the tax only applied to purchases bought from Japanese websites. The Japanese government hopes that by also applying the tax to foreign websites it will encourage shoppers by buy from Japanese sites. Japanese businesses have welcomed the move, saying it means they are now competing with foreign businesses on a level-playing field. Some international companies have expressed their disappointment, however, saying that it shows that the Japanese government is trying to limit cross-border purchases. In 2012, Japanese consumers bought 35 billion Yen’s worth of e-books and downloaded 23 billion Yen’s worth of music from foreign retailers, equivalent to around 290 million and 190 million US dollars respectively. 

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