It's almost certainly to do with the importers, unless of course Hasegawa set export prices high!
Wandering around various Tokyo shops it became very clear that prices for indigenous kits was at least half price compared to here. For instance the Tamiya New tool 1/350Yamato was about £125 at the exchange rate in April this year. Of Course that has now changed as the pound has tanked! The exchange rate always needs to be considered and with the path we are taking importing direct from Japan will soon become less favourable, especially when the VAT and RM charges are added which oddly I don't have a problem with, just a bonus if you don't get charged!
Interestingly I found Zvezda to be quite expensive compared to here, which surprised me as Russia is only about an hour or so away by air (therefore shipping should be sensible). I have to be honest I didn't see much Airfix as I wasn't looking and it appears the Japanese very much favour home grown products, with anything Chinese (Trumpeter) making here look really cheap.
Hasegawa seems to be the highest differential, with Tamiya being probably about what you'd expect. (3:1+, 1.5-2:1 or thereabouts)
Another example would be the 1/48th F-14. Available for about £45 (again exchange rate April this year) in most places except Volks where everything is RRP, or very close. Here it's available right now for £65 from Jadlam. I don't think that's a particularly poor for a product shipped half way around the world! However their small 1/72 Zeros were £8 compared to £20 here, so their entry level stuff is quite reasonable and kicks the living cr*p out of the Airfix one which is £7 here!
It becomes very clear very quickly how big this hobby is in Japan, notwithstanding all the Gundam stuff. There is a chain of stores called Labi which sell pretty much anything you could want to buy and every one I went into had a toy department which also sold models. Their range was always extensive and the tool selection would put most LHS's to shame, so when you hear that Hasegawa don't care about the rest of the world, believe it.
It's also a little unfair to point at Hasegawa as re-popping old kits at extortionate prices, everybody does it. It''s just not as extortionate for old Hasegawa kits in Japan.
I guess we just have to accept if you want Japanese kits you will have to pay the price, unless you can get it second hand or manage to avoid the VAT and import costs. It's also very dependent on your expectations as to what's a good price or not. To me Eduard take the *****, but not many people seem to complain! I very nearly bought the Airfix new tool 1/48 Mk1 Spitfire, but for whatever reason didn't and then Tamiya announced theirs. I'm so glad I waited and to me the extra cost was worth it.
The reality is this hobby is cheap as already pointed out and you can spend as much or as little as you like. Whereas some hobbies cost a **** load whatever level you want to dabble at!
P.S. Anybody going to Japan and hoping to pick up all the Bandai Star Wars stuff, your'e in for a disappointment. Most places have a small selection often discounted (which is nice), but I couldn't find everything I wanted and it always seemed to be tacked away to one side and often almost hidden.