September 14, 2017 3:40 pm JST

Japan aims to catch gold smugglers at airports

Metal detector gates to be installed at Narita, Haneda, as well as ports

© Reuters

TOKYO -- Seeking to curb a growing outbreak of gold smuggling, Japan's Ministry of Finance will install metal detector gates at the customs areas of airports with heavy international traffic, such as Narita and Haneda.

Currently, travelers entering Japan suspected of smuggling are probed by customs officials with handheld metal detectors. That process is causing congestion, however, as visitors to Japan increase.

Those suspected of illegally bringing gold into Japan will be asked to pass through the metal detector gates, which will also be placed in ports of call for overseas cruise ships. Officials will adjust amounts of metal to be detected so that the devices will not strand travelers by setting off the alarm over their wristwatches, for example.

Japan penalized 294 cases of gold smuggling in the 12 months leading up to June 2016, a 70% increase year over year. Many cases involved persons hiding gold on their bodies, adding to the urgency of responding to such techniques. Metal detector gates for employees already exist at customs areas, but no such equipment has been installed for ordinary travelers.

Gold smuggling has surged since Japan raised the consumption tax to 8% from 5% in April 2014. When smugglers sell gold, they can pocket the amounts equal to the 8% levy on the metal because the buyer pays the tax.

(Nikkei)

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

Resubscribe now to continue reading.
BEST OFFER:
Only US$ 9.99 per month for a full-year subscription

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.