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Combined shipments of beer and “happoshu” low-malt beer by Japan’s five major breweries fell 6.3 percent in 2003 from the previous year for the second straight annual decline.

Data released Thursday showed that beer and happoshu shipments by Kirin Brewery Co., Asahi Breweries Ltd., Sapporo Holdings Ltd., Suntory Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd. totaled 513.2 million cases last year. One case holds 20 large bottles, or 12.66 liters, of happoshu or beer.

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