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Japan to expand consumption tax breaks for foreign tourists

Government to let visitors combine purchases to reach 5,000 yen minimum

Overseas visitors to Japan may see more generous tax-free treatment when they go shopping next summer.

TOKYO -- Foreign visitors to Japan will soon be eligible for an expanded consumption tax exemption that will allow them to combine the value of their general-merchandise and consumable purchases to reach the 5,000 yen ($44) minimum required to qualify for the tax break.

Under the current system, each purchase must be worth at least 5,000 yen to qualify for the exemption. Someone who buys a 3,000 yen T-shirt and 2,000 yen worth of snacks, for example, is not eligible for the benefit. 

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