The Liquor Tax Act defines alcoholic beverages as beverages with an alcohol content of 1 percent or higher; jfftc/cgi-bin/data/bunsyo/C-1.pdf.
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 1 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. Fig. 7 – 1: Scope of coverage for alcoholic beverages in this chapter Category Description H.S. code Wine Sparkling wine 2204.10 Sherry, port and other fortified wines ( ) 2204.21 – 010 S till bottled wine (in a 2 – liter or l ess container) 2204.21 – 020 Other wine (bulk wine) 2204.29 – 010, – 090 Vermouth and other wine 2205.10, 2205.90 – 100, – 200 Beer , low – malt beer Beer made from malt 2203 Low – male beer 2206 Whisk y Bourbon whisky 2208.30 – 011, 019 Rye whisky 2208.30 – 021, 029 Other whisky 2208.30 – 031, 032 Other B randy , f ruit brandy 2208.20 – 100, 200, 2208.90 – 111, – 119 Rum 2208.40 Gin 2208.50 Vodka 2208.60 Liqueurs and cordials 2208.70 I. Points to Note in Exports to and Sales in Japan 1. Relevant Laws and Inst itutional Regulations (1) Regulations and Procedural Requirements for Importing to Japan The importing of alcoholic beverages is subject to 1) the Food Sanitation Act , 2) the Liquor Tax Act , and 3) the Customs Act. < Food Sanitation Act > In compliance wit h Notification No. 370 of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, “Standards and Criteria for Food and Additives” issued under the Food Sanitation Act, and the standards for pesticide residues, etc. (including feed additives and drugs for animals) whic h are included therein, alcoholic beverage s are subject to food sanitation, which is conducted to assess the types and details of the raw ingredients, and to test the types and contents of additives, pesticide residues, mycotoxins, and so on. Import bans m ay be imposed on food in the event of an additive, pesticide, or other contents which are prohibited in Japan, when their levels exceed approved limits, or when the presence of mycotoxins, etc. is above allowable levels. Accordingly, alcoholic beverages sh ould be checked at the production site prior to import. If levels exceed the limits of Japanese standards, guidance should be given. Pesticide residue standards adopted a negative system until 2006, under which pesticides would not be subject to control if there was no requirement for them. Amendments to the law introduced a positive list system, however, and the distribution of products is now prohibited in principle if they contain a specific level of pesticides, etc. even if there is no established requi rement. As of 2011, there is no alcoholic beverage that is subject to compulsory testing by order of the Health Minister (all – lot inspection that importers are ordered by the Health Minister to perform for food items that have a high potential to be in vio lation of the Food Sanitation Act) . Medicinal liquors do not fall in to a food category under the provisions of the Food Sanitation Act, and are exempt from the food sanitation inspection . Past c ases in which destruction or returning to the shipper were ord ered include wine produced in New Zealand that was found during an inspection by authorities to contain copper sulfate which is a banned substance, a liqueur produced in Azerbaijan in which sorbic acid was detected at a level above the approved limit in a voluntary inspection, and rum produced in Australia which was found to contain an unapproved additive also in a voluntary inspection. It is preferable to fully check the approved use of additives in advance. < Liquor Tax Act > T he Liquor Tax Act defines al coholic beverages as beverages with an alcohol content of 1 percent or higher; those that contain less than 1 percent are handled as soft drinks. This chapter defines alcoholic beverages according to the H.S. code of the Tariff Schedule (Fig. 7 – 1), covering imports as well as sake, shochu (distilled spirits), and low – alcoholic beverages (ready – to – drink [RTD] beverages unique to Japan, such as chu – hai, which are mixed drink s composed of shochu, vodka or other spirits with soft drinks such as carbonated water with fruit juice added to it, and highball [ whisky mixed with carbonated water]) that are distributed in Japan. 7. Alcoholic Beverages
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 2 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. Under the law, wholesaling of alcoholic beverages is operated in a licensing system, in which those that have obtained a wholesale dealer’s license for all alcohol ic beverages or imported alcohol beverages from the director of a tax office are authorized to wholesale imported alcohol ic beverages. Alcoholic beverages can be import ed independently if they are intend ed to be offered for drinking within the applicant ‘s place of business (such as a bar, restaurant, etc.) . The Liquor Tax is a specific duty that is imposed according to the type and alc ohol content of an item, and its provisions are summarized as shown in Fig. 7 – 2. Fig. 7 – 2 : Summary of Liquor Tax rates by type Classification Alcoholic beverage Customs Liquor Tax General tariff Simplified tariff ( Note 1 ) Alcohol by volume R ates /k L Low – malt beer s Beer made from malt Free < 20 % vol ¥ 220,000 Low - malt beer * Tariff r ates vary according to the malt concentration and alcohol by volume (ABV) . Brews Wine ( fruit wine ) 15% or ¥ 125/L , which ever is l owe r . If the tariff rate is < ¥ 67/L , it is fixed at ¥ 67/L ( Note 2 ) ¥ 70/L ¥ 80,0 00 Spirits Whisky, brandy, spirits * Tariff rates vary according to ABV Cy 37 % vol ¥ 10,000 added per percent age point of ABV over 37 % vol < 37 % vol ¥ 370,000 Liqueurs Liqueur , sweet fruit liquor * Tariff rates vary according to ABV . < 13 % vol ¥ 120,000 ( Note 3 ) Source: National Tax Agency ( Note 1 ) Simplified tariff rates are applicable to general import goods or internation al mail the custom value of which is ¥ 100,000 or lower. ( Note 2 ) Limited to those in containers holding 2 or less, excluding sparkl ing and fortified wines ( e.g., Sherry, port ) . ( Note 3 ) If the alcohol by volume exceeds 12 %, ¥ 10,000/ k is added for every % vol. For liqueur s <12%, excluding sparkling product s , tariff rates are ¥ 80,000/ k if the alcohol by volume is <9% , while they are c alculated by ¥ 80,000/ k combined with an incremental ¥ 10,000 per percent age point exceeding 8% if it is between 9% and 12%. < Customs Act > Under the Customs Act, the importing of cargo with labeling that falsifies the origin of the contents, etc. is banned . (2) Regulations and Procedural Requirements at the Time of Sale Re gulations and restrictions relevant to the sales of alcoholic beverages are explained below. < Liquor Tax Act > The Liquor Tax Act rules that one may not sell alcoholic beverages unless po ssess ing a wholesale dealer’s license for all alcoholic beverages or f or imported alcoholic beverages in order to be able to sell to retailers, etc., a general retail dealer’s license for alcoholic beverages to sell t o general consumers, owners of eating a nd drinking establishments, or confectionery manufacturers, and a mail – order retail dealer’s license for alcoholic beverages to sell by mail order retailing ( Fig. 7 – 3). While wholesaling licenses may be obtained on a permit basis as mentioned above, retail licenses may be obtained in principle on a notification basis.
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 3 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. Fig. 7 – 3 : Characteristics of major licenses to sell liquors License Characteristics Wholesale dealer’s license for all alcoholic beverages All kinds of alcoholic beverages, irrespective of domestic or import products can be sold wholesale; r etail distribution of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited . Wholesale dealer’s license for Western liquor Western liquors other than beer can be sold wholesale; r etail distribution of any alcoholic bever age is prohibited Wholesale dealer’s license for imported alcoholic beverages Imported alcoholic beverages can be sold to retailers; r etail distribution of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited . General retail dealer’s license for alcoholic beverages A lcoholic beverages , including import products, can be directly sold to general consumers in the distribution area; w holesale distribution of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited . Mail – order retail dealer’s license for alcoholic beverages A lcoholic beverages can be sold by m ail order to consumers, restaurants, etc.; n ote that the maximum allowable volume of imports is less than 100 per year. Source: National Tax Agency < Liquor Business Association Act ( Act on Securing of Liquor Tax and on Liquor Business Associations )> The Liquor Business Association Act governs various matters concerning l abeling for the purpose of ensuring st able trading of alcoholic beverages, and labeling in accordance with the Liquor Business Association is obligatory in selling alcoholic beverages. ( Refer to II. Labeling ) < Food Sanitation Act > Under the Food Sanitation Act, sales of products that contain harmful or toxic substances or those with poor hygiene are prohibited. Sales of alcoholic beverage s in containers and packaging are subject to mandatory labeling under the Food Sanitation Act, and provisions concerning safety labeling such as indication o f food additives, allergy information, raw ingredients and source, and genetic modification, etc. are applicable. ( Refer to II. Labeling ) < Pharmaceutical Affairs Act > To prevent general alcoholic beverages and medicinal liquors from being mixed up, it is prohibited under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Ac t to label or advertise a general alcoholic beverage in a manner that misleadingly promotes it as having the effect of a pharmaceutical product. Medicinal liquors are subject to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act and the Liquor Tax Act, although it is out of the scope of this chapter . < Product Liability Act > As a processed product, alcoholic beverages are included in items subject to the Product Liability Act, and care should be taken with regard to the safety man agement of relevant contents , containers , and packaging. The Product Liability Act stipulates the liability of manufacturers, etc. for damages to consumers in association with product defects, and importers are included in the category of manufacturers, et c. This is based on a policy to make importers liable for damag es because it is difficult for victimized consumers to hold overseas manufacturer s liable for damages. < Act on Specified Commercial Transactions > The Act on Specified Commercial Transactions s tipulates the protection of interest of purchasers in the direct commercial transactions made with consumers. Sales of alcoholic beverages in such routes as mail – order, direct marketing, telemarketing, etc. are subject to provisions of the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions. Note that a mail – order retail dealer’s license for alcoholic beverages require s to s a l e of alcoholic beverages by mail – order. < Act on the Promotion of Sorted Garbage Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging > Under the Act on the Promotion of Sorted Garbage Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging, importers, etc. that sell contents using containers and packaging t hat are controlled by the Act ( glass bottle, plastic bottles, paper containers and packaging an d plastic containers and packaging, etc.) shall be liable for recycling (however, small – scale enterprises of below a certain size are excluded from among enterprises subject to the Act). < Minor Drinking Prohibition Act > The Minor Drinking Prohibition Act bans the intake of alcoholic beverages by minors, and provides for the punishment of those that sell or offer them. For the purpose of ensuring this, it is recommended to label containers and packaging of alcoholic beverages to indicate that “underage drin king is prohibited by law , ” ” you must be 20 years of age or older to drink alcohol , ” etc. At shops, etc. that sell alcoholic beverages, meanwhile, a sign shall be placed in a visible spot to indicate that ” this is a n alcoholic beverage corner” or “this is an alcoholic beverage isle” and that “we do not sell alcohol ic beverages when a customer is not confirmed to be over 20 years of age ” in a font size larger than 100 points.
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 4 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. 2 . Procedures (1) Procedures for Authorization of Importing and Sales < Food San itation Inspection > Under the Food Sanitation Act, the required documents must be submitted ( Fig. 7 – 5 ) when filing an application for inspection with the imported food monitoring departments of Quarantine Stations, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. I nspection is conducted within the bonded area if it has been decided necessary to check the standards and criteria or safety issues at the initial review stage. If, as a result of the initial review and inspection, no issue has been detected under th e Act, the registration certificate is returned, which the applicant shall submit, along with customs documents, upon filing an application for import with Customs. In the event that it has been ruled unfit for importing, measures such as destruction or return t o the shipper are taken ( Fig. 7 – 4 ). < Customs > Under the Customs Business Act, import declaration must be made by importers themselves or commissioned to those qualified as registered customs specialists (including customs brokers). To accept the entry int o Japan of incoming cargo arriving from a foreign country, an import declaration must be made to the competent Customs office for the bonded area where the cargo is stored. Cargo for which customs inspection is required shall undergo required inspections f irst, and upon payment of customs duty, national and local consumption taxes, an import permit may be given in principle. To transfer import cargo of alcoholic beverages out of the bonded area, a notification should be filed with the director of the compet ent tax office before the time of accepting it.
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 5 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. Fig. 7 – 4 : Flowchart of import procedure Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare * Import food inspection following notification, conducted by MHLW Quarantine Stations ac cording to the annual plan. Prior consultation Preparation of import notification documents Arrival of goods Import notification Quarantine inspection Issuing the rec eipt of food import Customs clearance Domestic distribution Monitoring test * Compulsory inspections, administrative inspections Prior consultation with the quarantine department responsible for surveillance of food imports Pass Fail No testing need ed Testing needed Recovery and other actions must be taken if rejected Destruction or returned to shipper Conventional or online submission of import notification documents
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 6 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. < Required Documents > Documents required for importing are summarized below in Fig. 7 – 5 according to the authorities to which each document is submitted. Fig. 7 – 5: Documents required for import clearance Submitted to Required d ocuments Imported food monitoring departments of Quarantine Stations, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ( Food sanitation inspection under the Food Sanitation Act ) Notification form for importation of foods Material/ingredient table Production flo w chart Table of analysis results issued by the designated inspection institute (if there is a past record of import) Local customs offices ( Customs clearance under the Customs Act ) Declaration of import Invoice Packing list Bill of lading (B/L) o r airway bill Two copies of l abeling notification under the Liquor Business Association Act * Copy of liquor license under the L iquor Tax Ac t * Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare * Documents should be submitted before import application. (3 ) Contact Information for Competent Authorities, Institutions, and Sections Fig. 7 – 6 : Contacts of competent authorities Food Sanitation Act Inspection and Safety Division , Department of Food Safety, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, Ministry of He alth, Labour and Welfare TEL : +81 – 3 – 5253 – 1111 http://www.mhlw.go.jp Liquor Tax Act / Liquor Business Association Act / Minor Drinking Prohibition Act Liquor Tax and Industry Division , Taxation Department , National Tax Agency TEL: +81 – 3 – 3581 – 4161 Custom s Tariff Act / Customs and Tariff bureau, Ministry of Finance Japan TEL : +81 – 3 – 3581 – 4111 http://www.mof.go.jp Act for Standardization and Proper Labeling of Agricultural and Forestry Products Labelling and Standards Division, Food Safety and Consume r Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries TEL : +81 – 3 – 3502 – 8111 http://www.maff.go.jp Measurement Act Measurement and Intellectual Infrastructure Division , Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau , Ministr y of Economy, Trade and Industry TEL : +81 – 3 – 3501 – 1511 http://www.meti.go.jp Health Promotion Act Food and Labeling Division, Consumer Affairs Agency TEL : +81 – 3 – 3507 – 8800 http://www.caa.go.jp Pharmaceutical Affairs Act Compliance and Narcotics Divis ion , Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare TEL : +81 – 3 – 5253 – 1111 http://www.mhlw.go.jp Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations Representation Division, Consumer Affairs Agency TEL : +81 – 3 – 3507 – 8800 http://www.caa.go.jp Product Liability Act Consumer Safety Division, Consumer Affairs Agency TEL : +81 – 3 – 3507 – 8800 http://www.caa.go.jp Act on Specified Commercial Transactions Consumer Advice Office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industr y TEL : +81 – 3 – 3501 – 1511 http://www.meti.go.jp Consumer Safety Division, Consumer Affairs Agency TEL : +81 – 3 – 3507 – 8800 http://www.caa.go.jp
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 8 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. Fig. 7 – 7 : Specific materials related to allergy labeling Source: Ministry of Health, Labou r and Welfare
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 9 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. The quality labeling standards for processed foods , specified by the Act for Standardization and Proper Labeling of Agricultural and Forestry Product s, require the country of origin to be indicated on the labels of import foods. This Act also requires the country of origin to be labeled for ingredients li sted in the attached table. The requirement is not applicable to all other ingredients. Such information must be labeled either by stating in brackets on the list of ingredients or by stating the name of country of origin in a specified column of the label ing.
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7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 – 10 – Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved. product) and that of article 2 of labeling standards on prevention of drinking by minors (1989 National Tax Agency Notice No. 9) whi ch are labeled on the container or packaging of the concerned liquor product must be smaller than the size of the characters used for indicating the general product name of the liquor. Fig. 7 – 8: Flowchart of organic, etc. labeling standards for alcoholic beverages Source: National Tax Agency Use of organic agricultural products (o rganic agricultural products , processed foods , liquors made from organic agricultural products, rated based on the Act for Standardization and Proper Labeling of Agricultural and Forestry Products ) U se of ingredients ot her than organic agricultural products Minimum use of required food additives Management of manufacturing and other processes in compliance with labeling standards Labeled Liquor made from organic agricultural product s in front , back, or near the lab eling of the product Use of only ingredients other than organic agricultural products , meeting standards provided by the labeling Use of organic agricultural products : 95 % Use of organic agricultural products : 50% organic agricultural (Content: < 50% ) organic agricultural (Content: 50% ) L abeling of organic or organic agricultural products is prohibited Liquors made from organic agricultural product s Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No No PAGE - 11 ============ 7. Alcoholic Beverages Guidebook for Export to Japan (Food Articles) 2011 - 11 - Copyright (C) 20 11 JETRO . All rights reserved.
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