Sazae-san statues to get tax exemption

JAPAN - The Tokyo metropolitan government will not collect further fixed-asset taxes on bronze statues of characters from the popular comic Sazae-san in front of Tokyu Sakura-Shimmachi Station in Setagaya Ward, it has been learned.

According to parties including the Sakura-Shinmachi Shotengai Promotion Association, which advocates for the local shopping district, the statues will be exempt from about ¥450,000 (S$5,700) in fixed-asset taxes. However, about ¥150,000 that has already been collected will not be refunded.

As Sazae-san's creator, Machiko Hasegawa, lived in the area, the shopping district installed statues of 12 characters from the comic in March 2012 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the comic in 2011.

The district received grants from the ward and the metropolitan government to help pay the ¥42 million cost of installation.

The metropolitan government judged the statues to be a business asset for promoting the shopping district and in June notified the association it would have to pay asset taxes on 1.4 per cent of their appraised value.

The district argued the statues should be exempt from taxes, saying they were part of an effort to revitalize the area, not promote business.