ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Coronavirus

License to swill: Japan takeout rule a boon for struggling bars

Over 11,000 apply in two weeks as restaurant sales plunge

A restaurant in Tokyo advertises its new takeout option for wine. (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- More than 11,000 bars and restaurants in Japan have applied for a temporary license for liquor takeout, designed to help ease the blow of the coronavirus outbreak on business.

Japan has declared a state of emergency that could last until at least June as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Under the state emergency, people has been asked to stay at home and all non-essential businesses have been asked to make adjustments, such as limiting hours or closing completely.

"Takeout sales have jumped 20% since we got the green light to sell wine," said Masaki Suganuma, who operates M's Dining, a Tokyo bistro chain focused on Japanese wines.

Japan's restaurants and bars are usually not allowed to serve alcohol for customers to take home, but the government has decided to grant an exception for a limited time amid pressure from business groups.

The National Tax Agency had received roughly 11,400 applications as of Saturday, including from big national chains. About 7,800 have already received the license, which is good for six-months.

M's Dining prices its wines about 20% higher than those at liquor stores, but its takeout option has been very popular with its customers. "We have a wider selection than retailers and can recommend different wines to pair with different dishes," Suganuma said.

The chain halted dinner service starting April 6 after the government declared a state of emergency, which cut its revenue by 80%. Suganuma submitted an application on April 10.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more