Japan makes sake tax-free for foreigners

Japan is now allowing foreign tourists to buy sake and other alcoholic beverages tax-free at breweries and distilleries in Japan. — Reuters pic
Japan is now allowing foreign tourists to buy sake and other alcoholic beverages tax-free at breweries and distilleries in Japan. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, Oct 2 — Foreign tourists now can buy sake and other alcoholic beverages tax-free at breweries and distilleries in Japan, Japan's Jiji Press reported.

Launched yesterday, the tax-free programme is expected to give a further boost to already brisk exports of sake and make tours to breweries, wineries and distillers more popular among visitors to the country, industry people said.

Under the programme, if a foreign tourist buys a 720-millilitre “seishu” sake bottle at a shop on the premises of a government-designated brewery where the sake was produced, the ¥86.40 (RM3.25) liquor tax and the 8 per cent consumption tax will be exempted.

Since July, the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association has offered workshops for operators of breweries to help them get prepared for an increase in visitors from other countries.

“We are teaching English phrases to explain how to make sake and other products and what is interesting to foreign visitors,” said an official of the association, adding applications for the workshops are coming from all over the country.

According to the National Tax Agency, approval for the tax exemption had been given to 48 producers in 24 of Japan's 47 prefectures as of yesterday.

“We hope we can be a nucleus to attract foreign visitors and contribute to the revitalisation of our region,” said an official at Koganeishuzou, a designated liquor maker in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. — Bernama

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