Japan reorganizes its tax structure to become an arts center
Japan has changed its tax laws to encourage galleries and fairs to expand into the country and is looking for other avenues to become competitive in the global art market, Nikkei Asia reports. The effort comes as Hong Kong, a major arts hub along with New York and London, grapples with increased use of a national security law that could have a chilling effect on artistic expression.
Growing force on the art market at the end of the 1980s thanks to its economic prosperity, Japan only represents 4% of the world art market, compared to China as a whole, which commands 20%. , thanks to sales from mainland and Hong Kong collectors. , which hosts an annual edition of Art Basel, the world’s largest art fair. Additionally, Hong Kong has invested heavily in recent years in major art institutions such as the soon-to-open M + Museum and the booming West Kowloon cultural district, which is widely seen to have boosted the art market. . “Facilitating artistic relations with customs is significant, but first you have to found art in the country,” noted Katsura Yamaguchi, head of Christie’s Japan. “For example, opening a branch of a world famous museum, just as the Spanish city of Bilbao owns the Guggenheim, can attract not only tourists but also people involved in art.”
To its advantage, Japan has the third highest number of dollar billionaires in the world, behind the United States and China, and remains a strong draw for foreign tourists. Last February, Tokyo officials, led by Regulatory Reform Minister Taro Kono, decided to allow art galleries, auctions and art fairs to circulate works by art sold or displayed in the country’s free port zones, potentially saving them millions of dollars in tariffs and tax payments.
“These changes [in Japan] are just going to unleash a tremendous amount of excitement that will attract a response from the art world as long as collectors appear, ”said Pace Gallery Head Marc Glimcher. Pace, which in 2019 closed its Beijing outpost amid U.S.-China trade woes, is expanding its footprint in Seoul and “considering” entering Japan, Glimcher admitted. “If Japan really reopens,” he said, “it has the potential, once again, to become one of the hubs of the art market in Asia.”