Eat-in or take-out? Be aware of consumption tax evasion in Japan

Japan hiked its consumption tax rate to 10% from 8% as the government attempts to cover the ever-growing cost of supporting the country’s ageing population. 

According to ANN News on October 10, 2019,  in response to the changing customers’ lifestyles and the growing demand for takeouts, the government introduced the reduced tax rate (8 per cent)  for take-away food. The confusion between eat-in and take-out food tax rate led to the increasing cases of “eat-in tax evasion” in Japan. 

For examples, some convenience stores have introduced self-checkout systems, which allow customers to choose if they are eating-in or not, to calculate the tax rate correspondingly. 

It is hard to avoid customers who lie to take advantage of the take-out tax reduction, yet in the end stay inside to finish the meal. This dishonest behaviour is considered to be “eat-in tax evasion”. On the other hand, some people who are so-called “the justice man” are trying to bring to light more facts about this issue, by reporting to the convenience store staff.

Cashier: Are you eating-in?

Customer: No, I would like to take out.

The customer who claimed to take-out eventually stayed in to finish the food.


Netizens’ Discussion

Several netizens agree that the difference between eat-in and take-out tax rate is confusing very often. It also brings problems to both consumers and sellers.

A comment from Yahoo! News reader:

“It is really unnecessary. Restaurants are already busy enough. Stop making more troubles.”

“All chaos start from tax hike. In order to prevent tax evasion, let’s just give up on the consumption tax scheme!”

“There is a similar system in foreign countries, and dishonest people do exist. The government shall design preventive measures beforehand…that’s how they said the taxation has no problem to fix.”


A netizen even wrote a conversation with sarcasm to illustrate how inconvenience the new consumption tax system is.

The country said, “Consumption tax raised to 10 per cent!”

Staff thinks, “Come on!  just leave me alone…”

The country said, “Consumption tax can be reduced according to specific users/items!”

Staff thinks, “Come on!  just leave me alone…”

The country said, “Adjust the price! Change the price tag and ads!”

Staff thinks, “Come on!  just leave me alone…”

The customer said, “I’m going to evade the eat-in tax!”

Staff thinks, “Come on!  just leave me alone…”

The justice man said, “That guy just skip the eat-in tax!”

Staff thinks, “Come on!  just leave me alone…”


When traveling in Japan, be aware of the new consumption taxation scheme, do not fall into the traps of tax evasion and get caught by “the justice man”!