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Japan Revises Sake Labeling Standards

The manufacturing date of sake will no longer be regulated as a mandatory labeling item; Enterprises are prohibited from using misleading terms such as official recommendation;

On July 19, 2022, National Tax Agency of Japan released an amendment to Sake Manufacturing Method Quality and Labeling Standards, involving mandatory, recommended, and prohibited labeling requirements for sake products. The amendments will become effective on January 1, 2023.

Revisions:

  • Manufacturing date

The manufacturing date refers to when the container is filled and sealed for selling sake. However, if it is sold after being properly stored in refrigeration or the like, the manufacturing date shall be the day when the storage ends and the productization happens.

Most foods and beverages have a best-by date (or expiration date), but sake does not have a best-by date label. Due to the bactericidal action of alcohol, it can be stored for an extended period, so there is no obligation to indicate the best-by date. While, instead of the best-by date, sake is required to label the manufacturing date as an obligation. Notably, sake imported from the bonded area may indicate "manufacturing date unknown", which means that in the country where the sake is manufactured, there is no obligation to indicate the date of manufacture, and the manufacturer also didn't label the manufacturing date.

According to the amendment, the manufacturing date will be included in the scope of recommended labeling from January 1, 2023, and will no longer be regulated as a mandatory labeling item.

  • Awards labeling

The labeling regulations for products with awards have been removed from the recommended labeling range, and the misleading terms such as "official recommendation" (including some competitive exhibitions and government) is banned. For example:

  • Fake awards;

  • Awards are given by people with no social status or responsibility;

  • Award given by the enterprise itself;

  • The enterprise has received an award for other products/business other than sake products.;

  • Display government office purveyor or similar expressions;

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