Licenses and Permits for Alcohol Business in Japan

Types of Alcohol beverage seller license in Japan

There are 2 different types of alcohol beverage seller licenses. 

1, Alcohol beverage wholesaler license (shurui oroshiuri gyo menkyo/酒類卸売業免許)

2, Alcohol beverage seller license (syurui kouri gyo menkyo/酒類小売業免許)

If you want to sell to a person or a company who has an alcohol seller license, you need to obtain 1,

If you want to sell alcohol beverage products to general customers, you need to obtain 2,

 

About Alcohol Beverage Wholesaler License

 

There are 8 categories of Liquor wholesaler License and 4 of them are common cases.

 1. All kinds of alcohol beverage wholesaler license (zenshurui oroshiuri gyo menkyo/全酒類卸売業免許)

      It is permitted to sell all kinds of liquor products but it is a difficult license to obtain because the number of 

      licenses issued are limited by order of a lottery once a year.

      (Limited number of this license in 2018 :  9 for Tokyo, 1 for Chiba, 1 for Kanagawa, 1 for Yamanashi)

 2. Beer wholesaler license (beer oroshiuri gyo menkyo/ビール卸売業免許)

      It is permitted to sell beer.

      The number of permissions issued for this license are also limited and by lottery in a year.

      (Limited number of this license in 2018: 11 for Tokyo, 9 for Chiba, 1 for Kanagawa, 1 for Yamanashi)

3. Liquor wholesaler license (yoshu oroshiuri gyo menkyo/洋酒卸売業免許)

     It is permitted to sell liquor, whiskey, brandy and low-malt beer (happoshu/発泡酒).

     

4. Import and Export alcohol beverage wholesaler license

    (yushutsunyusyurui oroshiuri gyo menkyo/輸出入酒類卸売業免許)

     It is permitted to sell all kinds of alcohol and liquor beverages which you import or export by yourself.

Requirement 

There are 3 kinds of requirements.

1. Personal requirement

    The applicant has no violation of the law related to the alcohol business (or after a certain period of time has

    elapsed) and no tax delinquency. 

2. Location requirement

    Business location cannot be at an alcohol beverage manufacturing plant, liquor shop or restaurant.

3. Financial and Management requirement

    The applicant must have sufficient funds and adequate facilities to operate an alcohol beverage retail business

    continuously.  

    Financial statements and a business plan are required documents.

    The applicant must have experience in business management and working in an alcohol beverage

    manufacturing business or alcohol beverage retail business for at least 3 years for the "Liquor wholesaler

    license" and at least 10 years for "All kind of alcohol beverage wholesaler license" and "Beer wholesaler license".

   

Local tax office is in charge of this licenses.

In general, the license will be issued within 2 months from your submission assuming all the documentation is correct (6 months for "All kind of alcohol beverage wholesaler license").

License registration fee for tax office is ¥90,000.

 
About Alcohol Beverage Retail License 
 

If you want to sell alcohol beverage products to general customers, restaurants and bars, you need to obtain the appropriate Alcohol seller license.

1. General alcohol beverage retail license (ippan syurui kourigyo menkyo/一般酒類小売業免許)

    It is permitted to sell all kinds of alcohol beverage products to to general customers, restaurants and bars.

    It is not permitted to sell products via an on-line service or outside of your licensed prefecture.

2. Online alcohol retail license (tsushinhanbai syurui kourigyo menkyo/通信販売酒類小売業免許)

    It is permitted to sell certain types of Japanese alcohol beverage products and all kinds of imported alcohol beverage

    products to customers anywhere in Japan via an on-line service.

    It is not permitted to sell alcohol beverage products to customers at your shop.

 Requirements

There are 3 kinds of requirements.

1. Personal requirements

    Applicant has no violation of the law related to the alcohol business (or after a certain period of time has elapsed) 

    and no tax delinquency. 

2. Location requirements

    Business location cannot be at an alcohol beverage manufacturing plant, liquor shop,bar or restaurant.

3. Financial and Management requirements

    The applicant must have sufficient funds and adequate facilities to operate an alcohol beverage retail business

    continuously.  

    Financial statements and a business plan are required documents.

    The applicant must have experience in business management and working in an alcohol beverage manufacturing

    business or alcohol beverage retail business for at least 3 years for the "General alcohol beverage retail license".

4. Supply and demand balance requirements

    The applicant must not operate businesses such as bars, hotels and restaurants for "General alcohol beverage retail

    license". (Although there is a possibility that this license will be issued under the certain conditions of applicant's

    business.)

This license will be issued within 2 months from your submission assuming all the documentation is correct.

License registration fee at tax office is ¥30,000.

Matters to be attended to ; 

1. Alcohol beverage wholesalers and retailers must keep a record every stock and sale and preserve it for 5 years.

2. Alcohol beverage wholesalers and retailers must declare the amount of alcohol beverage:

    sold (from 1st of April to 31 of March) and

    quantity held as stock (as of 31 of March) to the tax office.

    They also must report any changes in operations or business structure.

(1) and (2) are a legal duty for licensed alcohol beverage retailers. If the licensed alcohol beverage retailer does not

    observe this rule, the punishment will be up to 1 year imprisonment or a fine of up to ¥500,000.

3. Alcohol beverage retailers must assign an "alcohol sales manager" before starting retail business and register

    within 2 weeks of the decision.

    (a person engaging in an alcohol sales business and having received alcohol sales management training within

    the last 3 years is ellegable to be the "alcohol sales manager".)

4. Alcohol beverage retailers must facilitate the alcohol sales manager to attend alcohol sales management training

    every 3 years.

5. Alcohol beverage retailers must state "No alcohol beverage product shall be sold to persons under 20 years old"

    on a sign in close proximity to the alcohol beverage shelf or on their web site.

(3),(4) and (5) are also a legal duty. The punishment for violation is a fine of up to ¥500,000.

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