Tokyo government backtracks merchant pledge not to sell alcohol to restaurants


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An example of the pledge form that is submitted when applying for financial assistance from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Screenshot taken from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website)

TOKYO – The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has ordered liquor dealers to submit signed pledges that they will not do business with restaurants that violate its demand to stop serving alcohol if they wish to receive a financial aid, he revealed.

The metropolitan government’s handling of the situation was in response to an administrative advisory from the central government urging such engagement amid the spread of the coronavirus. But with the Japanese government’s announcement on the night of July 14 that it would abolish the pledge, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided it would do so as well.

As part of the Metropolitan Government’s financial assistance to businesses hard hit by the pandemic, liquor dealers and others are eligible for a maximum of 200,000 yen (approximately $ 1,820) per month, which would be added to a amount of monthly aid given by the national government, depending on the extent of the drop in sales the retailer suffered amid the coronavirus crisis. Small and medium-sized businesses and individuals are eligible for handouts, but without submitting a signed pledge, they could not receive the money.

According to the Tokyo government, the Japanese government sent a notice dated June 11 stating that “it is not appropriate to provide financial assistance to retailers who do business with establishments they know are not following instructions. not to serve alcohol, ”and demanded that local governments obtain written promises from retailers when they apply for financial assistance.

On July 1, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government began receiving requests for financial assistance and 1,645 companies had submitted pledges signed by July 13. A Tokyo government official in charge of the claims said, “We made the choice based on the national government’s decision to rescind its initial advice.



The seat of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. (Mainichi / Makoto Ogawa)

For companies in financial difficulty, help that can offset part of the drop in sales is invaluable. Hiroo Akiyama, owner of Sake no Akiyama, a liquor wholesaler based in the Nerima district of Tokyo, said: “Demanding that we stop doing business in exchange for financial aid is a binding order that takes advantage of the weaknesses of wholesalers. .

Sake no Akiyama does business with around 700 establishments, mainly in Tokyo. Due to the repeated issuance of state of emergency declarations and other circumstances, sales have fallen by at least half of those in other years. “Business is built on trust,” Akiyama said. “If you say no to an establishment once, it will buy from another merchant. These ideas must come from people who do not understand the reality of wholesalers, and this is just a lack of judgment.

(Japanese original by Hitomi Saikawa and Shintaro Iguchi, Tokyo City Information Department)

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