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Japan to exempt tax for alcoholic beverages used in disinfection

JIJI

The government plans to exempt a tax on beverages with a high alcohol content used for disinfection if they carry a “do not drink” sign, sources said Thursday.

The government hopes to make such products available at lower prices as there is a shortage of alcohol-based sanitizers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Conditions for the tax exemption include attaching a note on the products that state they are a substitute for ethanol in hand sanitizers and not meant for drinking, and numbering them to make it easier to track buyers.

The exemption will remain effective as long as the health ministry approves the use of such products as a substitute.

The ministry has issued a notice that liquor with ethanol percentages of between 70 percent and 83 percent not containing methanol can be used for disinfection at medical institutions and other places, as a special measure to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry groups for alcoholic drink-makers have complained that the liquor tax is blocking the spread of drinks with high alcohol content for use in disinfection as it prevents the industry from lowering their prices.

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