Japan makes sake tax-free for tourists

Tourists may now purchase bottles of Japan’s native alcohol sake (rice wine) from designated Japanese breweries and distilleries.

According to the newly-launched program, the 86.4 yen (less than US$1) liquor tax and 8 percent consumption tax will be waived when tourists purchase a 720 milliliter bottle of refined sake or “seishuu” from a government designated brewery, reports The Japan Times.

Authorities expected the program to further boost sake exports and raise tourist interest.

An official of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association said in the report, “We are teaching English phrases to explain how to make sake and other products interesting to foreign visitors.”

The association has been holding workshops since July, which instruct breweries on how to prepare for a rise in tourism.

As of Oct. 1, 48 alcoholic beverage producers in 24 of Japan’s prefectures were given the approval to waive taxes. More applications are apparently coming in from all over the country. 

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