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Randy Treadway

Japan's Philatelic Issues for Expo 70

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Japan started off on March 1, 1970 by issuing this Air Letter Sheet. An Air Letter Sheet is basically a sheet of paper which can be folded up into an envelope (with the flap already having moisture-activated gum to seal it closed). A stamp was pre-printed on it, to pay the rate for international air mail.

This example has a first day postal cancellation.


Two weeks later, on March 14, Japan issued a beautiful set of three stamps.


Here is a first day cover for this set:


A souvenir sheet was also issued, and was handed to the customer inside a blue folder.


This set was also available in booklet format, for 100 yen.


These stamps proved to be so popular that the Postal Ministry decided to issue a second set on June 15th.


This set was also issued in souvenir sheet format, this time in a green folder.


And they were issued in booklet form as well.


Next posting- a special set of fund-raising stamps that Japan also issued.

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Great photos Bill! In one of those interiors you shared, we can see both sets of 3 stamps and the souvenir sheets depicted on the poster hung over the counter... so the picture must be on or after June 15th.

Now for those fund-raising stamps that I mentioned. They actually came first.

On March 15, 1969, the Postal Ministry issued two stamps for the upcoming Expo. These two stamps carried a surcharge of 5 yen and 10 yen respectively.

I'm not sure whether the surcharge went to help offset the government investment in Fair infrastructure, or it simply went to charity, as is common in Japan and many other countries. I've sent an email to a couple of people who I'm sure will know the answer to this question, specifically for March '69 Expo set. I'll post the answer here when I get it.

Here are the two stamps.


And here they are on a first day cover


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I got an answer back already from Ken Kamholz of the International Society for Japanese Philately.

The basic rate of 15 yen on one stamp was the domestic letter rate at that time, and the 50 yen was the international letter rate.

The purpose of the surcharge on top of the basic rate was to raise capital for Expo costs. The Postal Ministry, in a spring 1969 new issue bulletin, estimated "If all copies are sold, the proceeds to the Exposition Association will come to 150,000,000 yen ($417,000). The total direct cost of the exposition is estimated at 812,000,000 yen ($2,257,360)."

Ken found this information in the April 1969 issue of the ISJP's journal "Japanese Philately".

Just from the Postal Ministry's estimates, it appears they were hoping to raise 18% of the Fair's costs through sales of these two postage stamps!

Ken also included some detailed information on the design of these two stamps.

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