Over 19 million Japanese abuse alcohol?

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How often do you drink beer, happoshu or third-sector beer? graph of japanese opinioninfoPLANT recently released a survey, performed using their usual method of a menu option within the DoCoMo iMode service, to find out what people thought about beer, happoshu and third-sector beer. Note that this survey was self-selecting, but since it has nothing to do with mobile phones, there should not be too major a problem with the survey population this time. 7,668 people, 61.0% female, responded to the survey, conducted over one week at the end of February.

Beer almost always means lager in Japan, happoshu is a low-malt beer-like drink(can’t stand the stuff myself), and third-sector beer is wheat and malt free, and instead is made from pea and other vegetable proteins and the one time I drunk it it tasted suprisingly nice and smooth.

I think I have found one statistic I’ve been seeking for a long time – here we have 13.8% of men in their twenties reporting daily beer consumption. Looking at a table from my homeland of Scotland, we can see that in 1998 only 7% of males aged 25 to 34 drunk any alcohol daily. However, looking at those men who drink at least once a week, the Scots have a significantly higher figure, although remember that includes all alcohol types. Similarly, but even more markedly, a mere 3% of young Scotswomen drink any alcohol daily, whereas over three times as many, 10.1% of Japanese women in their twenties consume beer daily. These differences are repeated across all the age groups.

Contrasting the daily figures with the weekly ones, I think it is a fair conclusion to draw that whilst the Japanese may overall have a lower frequency of alcohol consumption than the Scots, there are a higher number of regular drinkers amongst the Japanese population.

Note that neither survey addresses the volume of consumption, but with the recommended maximum weekly intake of 21 units for men and 14 for women, two large half-litre cans for men or two small 330 ml cans for women of beer-like drinks will most likely put the daily drinkers over the safe limit, and that ignores any other alcohol the Japanese may be consuming. Taking the adult population of Japan to be about 103 million and taking 18.6% of that figure we get the tabloid headline figure above, which does make certain assumptions, of course, some that might make the figure lower and others that make it higher.
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