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Japan's domestic beer shipments fell to a record low for the fifth first-half-year in a row, as all three segments of the category declined amid tax changes, according to local reports.

Japan has seen beer consumption continue to decline due in part to the countrys ageing population

Japan has seen beer consumption continue to decline due in part to the country's ageing population

The first six months of this year marked the first time that beer, happoshu and third-category, all of which are defined by malt content, all posted falls, the Asahi Shimbun reported today. Third-category - or new genre - beer had previously seen stronger demand as brewers launched new innovations in the lowest-priced segment.

Asahi Shimbun said the declines were partly due to an increase in retail prices under a new tax model that started on 1 June. The new law regulates heavy discounting at larger supermarkets in a bid to protect smaller alcohol outlets.

Total beer shipments fell 1.3% to 190.3m cases, the Asahi Shimbun reported, citing data from Japan's five major breweries, Suntory, Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Orion Breweries.

Regular beer, which has the highest malt content, was down 1.4%, happoshu fell by 2.4% and third-category beer slipped 0.7%.

Japan has an ongoing decline in beer consumption caused by Japan's ageing population. In 2016, domestic beer volumes in Japan fell by 3% as shipments from all five major brewers declined, according to local reports.

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