Permission to sell alcohol in Japan

When selling alcoholic beverages in Japan, it is necessary to obtain a business license from the tax office. This section describes the wholesale and retail cases of imported and exported alcoholic beverages.

1.Import and Export Liquor Wholesale License
■Scope of transactions
The import and export liquor wholesale license is a license that allows you to wholesale only those imported by your company. You cannot handle products imported by other companies, both domestic and overseas. It cannot be sold directly to consumers, café bar or restaurants. For this case, another license called Liquor Retail License is required.
■Transaction consent Agreement
At the time of application, please make sure to obtain a consent form (sales contract) from your overseas sales partners/suppliers. License conditions can only be granted to trade items listed in the document.
■Basic management requirements
In terms of licensing requirements, “Person who is judged to have sufficient knowledge and ability to properly manage liquor sales business based on experience and other matters” is a key. As for the knowledge of liquor, the conditions can be met by taking the “Liquor Sales Manager Training”, but for the import and export business, it is required to have actual trade experiences.
■Requirements for sales capacity and required funds
A) Has certain stores 
B) There is agreement for exporting or importing alcoholic beverage 
C) The company has enough funds, etc., that are recognized as enough to manage the export liquor wholesale business or the imported liquor wholesale business.

2.General Liquor Retail License
■Career and management ability requirements
Applicants are persons who are judged to have enough knowledge and ability to properly manage the liquor wholesale business based on their experience.
Those who have been directly engaged in the business of liquor manufacturing or sales (excluding medicinal liquor-only sales) for more than 3 years, and have been operating seasoned food sales for over 3 years or person who has been engaged in these duties or has been more than 3 years in total.
Those who have no experience in sales and production of alcoholic beverages prior to application will be deemed to have enough knowledge, management ability and sales ability by attending “Liquor Sales Manager Training”.
■Requirements for sales capacity and required funds
Applicants have enough funds that are enough to cover to continuously sell alcoholic beverages at application sales offices, and those who have the necessary sales facilities and equipment or a person who is certain to have sales facilities and equipment by the time of starting businesses.

In addition, a mail order retailer license is required when selling online online.

For more information, please contact us.


Published by

Ritsuya Kaminaga

Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist