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How to obtain alcohol beverage seller license in Japan

In the case you want to sell alcohol beverages to general consumers or shops or bars, restaurants (who do not have alcohol seller license) in Japan, you need to obtain license of common alcohol beverage seller license = Ippan shurui Kouri gyo menkyo = 一般酒類小売業免許.
In the case you import alcohol beverage and sell it to general consumers or shops or bars, restaurants (who do not have alcohol seller license) in Japan, alcohol beverage seller license.
In the case you import alcoholic beverage and sell it to other alcoholic beverage seller, your business is wholesaler. So, other license is required.
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In the case you import alcoholic beverage to sell it in Japan ( even if you sell it in your restaurant ), you need to take process related to quarantine office.
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In the case you sell alcohol beverages after you uncork the bottle, you do not need to obtain this alcohol beverage seller license.
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Even if you do not uncork the alcohol beverage, when you sell it at your restaurant, you do not need to obtain common alcohol beverage seller license = Ippan shurui Kouri gyo menkyo = 一般酒類小売業免許.

However, you need to obtain restaurant business license.

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The reason why you need to obtain this alcohol beverage seller license when you sell corked alcohol beverages.
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When a person imports or manufactures alcohol beverage, she has to pay liquor tax ( shuzei ).( Assumed 100 yen )
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When she has sold the liquor to retailer shop ( who has intention to sell it to consumers or bars ), she can reimburse, collect money ( 100 yen ) for the taxes.
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In the case manufacturer or wholesaler sells liquor to retailer shop, they will sell it by credit.
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So, if a person operates retailer shop without stable foundation, status of manufacturer or wholesaler will be unstable.
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Because, they have already paid high rate of liquor tax.
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So, Japanese government aims to eliminate such unstable retailer shop operators.
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So, if your company hopes to obtain this license, if financial situation of your company is not good, it can not obtain these license.
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Specifically speaking, if your company falls under either of below, it can not obtain these licenses.
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If your company is behind its tax ( if your company does not submit tax filing, of course, it can not obtain these license ).
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In latest balanced sheet of your company, the amount of carried over loss is more than amount of capital amount.
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For past three years, the amount of loss is 20% or more of capital amount.
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( For example, the amount of register capital amount ( Shihon kin )+ Capital surplus ( Shihon joyo kin ) + Retained earnings ( Rieki joyokin ) = 1 million yen, if the amount of loss is 200,001 yen for past 3 years, your company can not obtain these licenses ).

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However if you are not in Japan and to sell alcohol beverages to Japan, you do not obtain this license in Japan.

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OUTLINE OF PROCESS
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1 You fill in application paper and prepare documents to be attached and submit them to Public office ( Tax office governs this process ) that has jurisdiction over your shop.
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2  Officer of Public office inspects the papers.

Generally it will take 2 months to inspect after application.
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Depending on situation, officer will visit your office to inspect situation.
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3  If officer approves your application, he notifies you by document.
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Even if your application is denied, you will be notified by paper.
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4  When you receive license, you need to pay 30,000 yen.

This is government fee.
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5  You can start your business of selling alcohol beverage.
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If you operate business of selling alcohol beverage without this license,
you will be sentenced to imprisonment of one year or less, or fine of 500,000 yen or less.
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In the case of common alcohol beverage sale license = Ippan shurui Kouri gyo menkyo, you can not sell alcohol beverage through internet or catalog.
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You need to obtain mail order liquor shop license ( 通信販売酒類小売業免許 = tsushin hanbai shurui kouri gyo menkyo ).
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However, even if you sell alcohol beverage through internet or catalog, if your customers are located in one prefecture, you can operate your business with common alcohol beverage sale license.
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Even if you have mail order liquor shop license, you can not sell alcohol beverage at your shop.

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In the case of mail order alcohol beverage seller license, basically you can not sell domestically produced alcohol beverage.
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( If the amount of manufacturing of a specific alcohol beverage is 3,000 kiloliter or less, you can sell it with mail order liquor shop license ( 通信販売酒類小売業免許 = tsushin hanbai shurui kouri gyo menkyo ).
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In the case of imported alcohol beverage, there is not this kind of regulation.
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Necessary standards to obtain this license.
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① You need to have experience of working in licensed liquor manufacturer or seller business operators for 3 years or more.
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Even if you were part time worker, as long as you engaged in liquor selling business, you can include those years in this 3 years.
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②  You need to have experience of working in food seasoning selling business for 3 years or more.
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③ You can sum up ① and ②  and if it is for 3 years or more, you can fulfill the requirements.
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④ Or you need to have experience of operating business other than above and take necessary lecture.
In the case you only have experience of salaried worker like IT business, you may not be able to obtain this license.
(In that case, you can contact with me to find other way)
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This lecture is named ” SHURUI HANBAI KANRI KENSHU ” ( 酒類販売管理研修).
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In order to obtain this license, operator of liquor shop should be clearly separated from operator of other business.
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So, if X company ( who sells liquor ) and Y company ( who operates restaurant ) shares one shop space, X company ( who sells liquor ) can not obtain liquor shop license.
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( Because, if X company has obtained alcohol beverage seller license, it may be able to purchase alcohol beverage at cheap price and it call sell the beverage at its restaurant at cheap price.
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In that case, it will lead to price competition ).
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In that case, you need to install partition and not to your employee engage in both business.
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In the case you operate restaurant business in a shop and provide liquor in a glass.
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Then, if you want to sell same liquor with corked bottle to persons including they are not customer of your restaurant, you need to separate space for selling the liquor from restaurant and you need to prepare separate cash register.
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When you have obtained license of common alcohol beverage seller, without delay, you need to appoint alcohol beverage seller supervisor ( shurui hanbai kanrisha = 酒類販売管理者 ).
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If you have qualification to become alcohol beverage seller supervisor, you can become it.
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The alcohol beverage seller supervisor should be full time employee.
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If you want to start your business as soon as possible after you have obtained license , it is better for you to acquire necessary qualification to become supervisor when you have made application for this license.
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If you operate alcohol beverage selling business without appointing supervisor, you will be sentenced of fine of 500,000 yen or less.
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In the case, supervisor is often out of liquor shop for more than 2 hours, you need to appoint Acting Representative Person (temporary supervisor = daiko sha).
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She is substitute of supervisor.
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In the case you appoint supervisor ( 酒類販売管理者 ), you need to file him within 2 weeks from appointment with tax office.
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You need to make effort that supervisor ( 酒類販売管理者 ) takes a lecture lesson within 3 months from appointment.
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It is recommended that supervisor  takes a lecture lesson about management of alcohol beverage selling business in every 3 years.
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Alcohol beverage seller needs to display notification board to prevent minorities from drinking alcohol beverage.
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In the event you sell alcohol beverage, you need to confirm purchaser’s age.
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You also need to display notification board that clarify that your shop is liquor shop.
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Size of letters in this notification board is stipulated.
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As for necessary documents to obtain this license.
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There are a lot of documents to be prepared.
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One of them, you need to provide your resume.
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In the case of legal entity, resume of all officers ( Including auditor ) is required.
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In the case, you are renting shop and you are going to operate your business there, you need to provide scanned copy of lease contract.
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In the case you own office, certified copy of real estate register is required.

In the case you are renting an apartment and you use your residence as your shop, if in the lease contract,  it is stipulated that you cannot use your residence for business purpose, in order to obtain this license, you need to obtain permit from landlord. .
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Even if you own your apartment, there should be apartment association rule.
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And if it stipulates that ” Owner can not manage business in this apartment “, you can not obtain this license in your apartment.
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if you can receive agreement paper from apartment association =Kanrikumiai, you can obtain this license)
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So, if you are seriously interested in starting this business, you need to prepare office space ( Not residential building ).

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So, before you make application for this license, you need to show lease contract to officer to confirm whether you can obtain this license or not.
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In the case your company obtain these license, you need to prepare financial statement for past 3 years.
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If you have already legal entity but it does not filed tax return legally, your company can not obtain this license.
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In that case you need to establish new company.
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In the case you obtain these licenses with status of individual, you need to provide your income and expenditure statement ( shushi keisansho ).
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Document that can indicate way of your sales is required.
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If you have website, you can print it out and provide.
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You need to clarify supplier of beverage and the supplier should be wholesaler or importer.
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You can not write ” I will purchase it at convenience store “.
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In the case your company obtains license, objectives of your company should include ”  management of alcohol beverage seller shop”.
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So, if it is not stipulated in articles of incorporation of your company, your company needs to change it and file registration of change of objectives. ( Registration tax of 30,000 yen is required ).

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As for space of operating liquor shop business.

In the case you want to operate liquor shop business in your residence, you need to separate space for your daily life and liquor selling business.
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So, you can not operate your business in living room.
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You need to prepare exclusive use room for your business.
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When you receive order from your customers, you need to complete it in the room.
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You need to store liquor where you have filed as your shop.
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If you want to store the liquor other than your shop ( residence ), you need to obtain other permit from authority as for the warehouse.
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In the case there is a apartment association ( KANRI KUMIAI ) in your apartment, you need to obtain permit from the association.
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Financial statement of past 3 years ( In the case of legal entity ) is required.
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If your company is in the condition in which it is unable to pay its debts in full with its property for past 3 fiscal years, your company cannot obtain this license.
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If you are operating service trade, like restaurant, bar, hotel, inn, you can not obtain this license.
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However, if you clearly distinguish liquor shop business and other business, you may be able to obtain license.
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Income and expenditure account statement = Shushi keisansho ( In the case of individual ) for past 3 years is required.
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Certificate of tax payment issued from prefectural government and city hall is required.
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This certificates should clarify that there is not nonpayment of your tax.
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This certificates also should indicate that there was not nonpayment of tax for past 2 years.
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When you operate alcohol beverage seller business, you need to prepare register.
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In this register, following items should be recorded and kept for five years.
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The number of alcohol beverage that you purchased and sold and its date.
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Information of seller ( if you purchased beverage from S company, information of S company ) and  purchaser (  if you sold beverage to Mr.B,  information of Mr. B ).
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You need to report tax office the number of beverage you have sold ( during 1st April to 31th March of following year ) and the number of inventory ( as of 31th March ) by end of April.
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You need to fulfill this duty every year.
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