In Japan, the new year starts on April 1st. New year meaning in this case: the new year at school and universities, the new year when new university graduates start working their first job, and the new fiscal year. The latter brought a big change for the Japanese: Higher sales taxes.
Since April 1st 2014, you have to pay 8% of sales tax on purchases in Japan, instead of the 5% it was before. This is still a totally ridiculous amount compared to the 20% you have to pay in Austria for example, so I am not complaining about this at all, although the prices in Japan are high enough already, especially for groceries.
What does irritate me is the following: I have just found out that the supermarket I usually go to has changed their price labelling. They have switched from stating the gross prices to putting the net prices onto their labels, which means that you’ll find out the final price only at the cashier’s. This annoys me greatly. As I said, it’s not the amount of taxes at all, when buying groceries it’s not a big deal anyway, but I prefer to know exactly how much I have to pay for anything before I choose to buy it, without doing mental math of how much I’ll have to spend in reality.
I really hope this is just a temporary measure…