Liquor tax in Japan will be reviewed from October 2020 to 2026


Liquor tax in Japan will be reviewed from October 2020 to 2026

The definition of alcohol tax is the tax imposed when you consume alcoholic beverages. This alcohol tax is imposed to you differently according to what kind of alcoholic beverage you purchase, and the taxation system in Japan is going to change from 2020 step by step.

ikki deliver the information about the change in the taxation system regarding alcoholic beverage this time.



Classification of alcoholic beverages on Japanese tax law

According to Japanese law, the definition of alcoholic beverage is the beverage containing alcohol above 1 %, and there are 4 big categories “Sparkling alcohol”, “Fermented alcohol”, “Distilled alcohol” and “Blended alcohol”. There are smaller categories in those 4 big categories and the rate of tax is determined.


In 2018, Japanese government decided to change the rate of liquor tax and it will be enforced from October 2020.

The main reason of the change in tax is because the tax revenue from the liquor tax decreased and now only 2 % of total revenue.


Review of liquor tax on beer-like beverage

In Sparkling alcohol, there are Beer, low-malt beer and other sparkling alcohol, like New genre and Chu-Hi.

The definition of beer was to contain more than 67% of malt, but with the change it will be to contain more than 50%. In addition, if the beverage contains ingredients like fruits or herbs it was categorized as Low-malt beer, but it will be categorized as Beer.

As a result, in 2026 there will no longer be categories “Low-malt beer” and “New genre”, and it will only be “Beer” and “Chu-Hai” categories.

Please check the change on the graph above.


Review of liquor tax on fermented alcohol

Now we under stand about the tax on beer, but how about Sake?


According to Japanese law, the rate of liquor tax on Wine and  Sake were different as you can see above. The tax on Sake was 1.5 times more than wine.


Nevertheless since 2026, there will be only “fermented alcohol” category and the rate will be the same for wine and beer in Japan.


As the life style of Japanese people changes, the number of people enjoy Sake is decreasing especially for the young generations, but the government is now supporting Sake industries.

Hope more people enjoy Sake more!