Kirin is to spend around 20 billion Yen (US$184.5m) on boosting productivity, according to press reports. The Nikkei Business daily said yesterday that the Japanese brewer will invest the money over the next two years on upgrading its Fukuoka production site and making it one of the company's most environmentally-friendly breweries. No sources were cited in the report.

The brewer will install facilities which are less human labour-intensive by October 2006. This will lead to the number of staff being reduced by around 20% to roughly 150 by 2007, the paper claims. In 2003, staff levels stood at about 180.

Kirin also plans to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, and will introduce new environmental measures already adopted at its other sites. The main measure to be implemented is the switch from fuel oil to natural gas, which will lead to a drop in CO2 emissions per kilolitre of regular and low-malt beer to 0.1 metric tons by 2007 from the 0.185 tons recorded in 1990, the paper claims.