The government coalition is planning to change taxation rates on alcoholic beverages in its tax reform bill for 2016. Currently taxes on wine and Japanese sake are 1.5 higher than lower alcohol beverages. The proposal is designed to make the taxation rates between various kinds of spirit more uniform. It is expected that taxes for low-alcoholic beverages, such as low-malt beer will go up, while regular beer, wine and Japanese sake will see lower rates.
The taxation system for beer type beverages has over the years led to the development of low or no malt beer-like types such as happoshu and third type beer which are cheaper as the tax rate is linked to the malt content in beer, at the expense of sales in regular beers with high malt content. Also the high tax rates on Japanese spirits is seen as one of the reasons in the decline of sales of these beverages.