Govt. to cancel request to liquor dealers

NHK -- Jul 14
Japan's government is planning to cancel its request for liquor vendors to stop supplying bars and restaurants that continue to serve alcohol even under a coronavirus state of emergency or focused restrictions.

The government on Tuesday told the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito that it is planning to withdraw the request.

Some drinking establishments in areas under a coronavirus state of emergency or focused restrictions do not comply with calls to stop serving alcohol. The government has asked liquor vendors to stop dealing with such businesses.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu told reporters on Tuesday that even if liquor vendors do not follow the government's request, they will suffer no disadvantage, or disruption of their freedom to do business.

The request to liquor dealers has drawn criticism from various quarters.

Representatives of a liquor dealership association visited LDP policy chief Shimomura Hakubun on Monday to convey their worries.

During Tuesday's meeting with the government, many LDP lawmakers said liquor dealers are in serious financial trouble.

The Constitutional Democratic Party and other opposition groups criticized the government for putting pressure on bars and restaurants that have no choice but to try to continue in business, despite insufficient government support.

The parties are also demanding the resignation of Economic Revitalization Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi.

Last week, Nishimura indicated that he would ask financial institutions to urge noncompliant bars and restaurants to follow the government's request to suspend alcohol sales. The government dismissed that plan after his remarks drew widespread criticism.