Revised Tax Laws Mean Japanese Alcohol Prices to Change Starting October 1st

Nationwide Shopping Beer 2020.09.30
Depending on the variety of alcohol in question, taxes may increase, or decrease!
Important news for anyone who likes Japanese beer (over the age of 20, of course)ーnew Japanese tax policy concerning alcoholic beverages will come into play starting October 1st, 2020, shifting prices both up and down. Instead of a simple tax increase, this new law gets a little more complicated, even creating a new "genre" or category of alcoholic beverage with its own tax rate.

Source: Yahoo Japan

While it can be a little hard to understand the various beer-like drinks sold in cans at Japanese stores, especially for uninitiated drinkers who can't always read Japanese, the drinks are generally divided into two varieties: beer is any drink made with 50% or more malt, or with supplementary ingredients making up 5% or less of the drink; happoshu (発泡酒), on the other hand, looks and tastes somewhat like beer, but it's made with less than 50% malt or more than 5% other ingredients. This new policy is now adding a third, new optionーhapposhu with added grain alcohol or Japanese shochu, and some drinks made by fermenting ingredients other than grains or malt.

When it comes to pricing, the new tax laws affect each of the categories a little differently. Beer purists should be pleased, since tax will go down about 7 yen per 350ml! (350ml is about the size of an average can.) And even those who drink happoshu have something to be pleased aboutーwhile this category is actually further divided into two, taxes will be lowered on happoshu drinks made with at least 25% malt. (Happoshu made with less than 25% malt will be taxed at the same rate as now.) Unfortunately, drinks placed in the new category will cost about 10 yen more per 350ml.

Source: Yahoo Japan

Beer isn't the only drink affected by the implementation of this new set of laws! Sake, Japanese rice wines more properly called "nihonshu" (日本酒), will see lower tax rates, but taxes on fruit-based alcohol (like standard grape wine) will actually go up!

While wine-lovers might be a little frustrated by this added tax, in Japan it's almost tradition to start a party with a round of draft beers, so (unless it's a nomihoudai) perhaps we'll see people fighting over the chance to buy the first round!

For more updates and info from Japan, check back soon, and don't forget to follow Japankuru on twitter, instagram, and facebook!


Source: Yahoo Japan

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