The Most Amazing Tax Plan Ever

Japan’s Furosato Noze is one tax plan you’ll like.

Michael Wilkins


Photo by Esther T on Unsplash

You pay tax and they give you gifts! Really delicious gifts. King crab from Hokkaido, grapes from Yamanashi, apples from Nagano, beef from Kobe, the list goes on and on. You can even get high grade bottles of sake!

How did this come about you ask? And can I get some?

Sadly you have to be a resident of Japan. But maybe you can lobby your own government for a similar program.

Japan’s countryside is hollowing out. With a low birthrate the society is aging and of the few young people in rural areas many prefer to move to large urban areas like Tokyo for educational, occupational, and social opportunities. This leave small municipalities with a very small tax base.

Japanese taxpayers can choose to “donate” money to up to 5 rural towns and then write the amount of the donation off at tax time. In return the town sends a thank you gift of local products. Usually delicious local products.

Sounds good doesn’t it? It is really popular but maybe a bit too popular. Larger centers started to participate and some of them were offering expensive gifts not from the local area like Amazon gift cards.

In 2018 the Japanese government sorted it out to preserve its original purpose. Gifts can only be worth 30% of the donation, must be from the local area, and huge cities can not participate.

There are still some interesting non-agricultural options like a meal in a Buddhist temple.

Photo by Charles Postiaux on Unsplash

As for our house we have a constant stream of goodies arriving that is multiplied by all our in-laws doing the same thing and sharing.

Just recently these melons arrived. I’ve never been so happy to pay a tax.

Photo by author.



Michael Wilkins

Originally from the West Coast of Canada. Living and teaching in Kobe, Japan since 2000.