International Exhibitors at the Forthcoming Tokyo Gendai Art Fair Will Get a New Tax Perk

Galleries headquartered outside of Japan will be exempt from a 10 percent pre-sale levy.

Toshinaga Okazawa, director of the enforcement division of Yokohama Customs, and Magnus Renfrew, cofounder of Tokyo Gendai. Courtesy of Tokyo Gendai.

Organizers of the new Tokyo Gendai art fair, which will have its inaugural edition in July, is offering a serious perk to international exhibitors hoping to do business in Japan. Because the fair has “bonded” status, the out-of-country participating galleries will not need to pay the 10 percent sales tax in advance of any potential sale that they normally would owe on each artwork brought into Japan for sale. The sales tax is only then paid at the point of purchase if a sale is indeed made.

The change marks one of the only times a fair in Japan has been granted the status. 

Art Collaboration Kyoto (ACK) obtained bonded status for its 2022 edition and has applied for it for its 2023 edition in October as well. It was not immediately clear if other fairs had utilized the tax perk for international exhibitors.

“This announcement will help Tokyo Gendai over the coming years to open the doors to international exhibitors and demonstrates Japan’s dedication to deepening its engagement with the global art world, and to further developing its local art market,” fair cofounder Magnus Renfrew said in a statement.

The new status comes after revisions Japanese laws in 2020 and 2021 that allow for the introduction of bonded areas to enable the trade of artworks.

Ayaka Yamamoto, Untitled #411Kuldiga Latvia (2014). Courtesy of the artist and amanaTIGP. ©Ayaka Yamamoto

Ayaka Yamamoto, Untitled #411Kuldiga Latvia (2014). Courtesy of the artist and amanaTIGP. © Ayaka Yamamoto.

The fair will take place July 7–9, with a VIP preview on July 6, at Pacifico Yokohama. The inaugural edition has 74 participating galleries.

“I am delighted that the deregulation carried out during my time as Minister for Regulatory Reform has helped to support the opening of an art fair of international standard, drawing galleries from around the world to Japan,” said Kono Taro, Japan’s minister for digital transformation. “We hope that art lovers from across the globe will come to the fair and go on to explore Japan more widely.”

The fair is organized by the Art Assembly with SMBC Group acting as a principal partner, and will include talks, curated exhibitions, new commissions, and satellite events. Among the highlights is a new commission by pianist and visual artist Tomoko Mukaiyama, a special exhibition spotlighting the work of major Japanese women artists, dedicated gallery evenings and satellite exhibitions at local institutions including the Mori Art Museum; the National Art Center, Tokyo; and the Artizon Museum.


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