JAPAN – Japan’s health ministry unveiled its inaugural guidelines on alcohol consumption on Monday, aiming to mitigate associated health risks by encouraging moderation.  

The guidelines outline specific amounts of alcohol consumption linked to the elevated risk of developing diseases and conditions. 

Initially drafted in December, the ministry recommended a daily limit of 40g of alcohol for men and 20g for women.  

The guidelines state, “The amount of pure alcohol that raises the risk of lifestyle diseases is 40 grams for men and 20 grams for women per day.” This equates to one 500ml bottle of 5% abv beer or one 180ml cup of sake. 

The ministry’s latest advice targets reducing the percentage of Japanese men consuming 40 or more grams of pure alcohol daily to 13 percent, and Japanese women consuming 20 or more grams to 6.4 percent. 

The guidelines emphasize individual differences in the effects of alcohol on diseases and suggest that reducing alcohol intake below these amounts can decrease the chances of contracting associated illnesses. 

Despite a decline in overall alcohol consumption per adult in Japan since its peak in 1992, the number of people developing alcoholism has remained nearly unchanged since 2017, standing at 46,000. 

The ministry cautioned that even minimal alcohol consumption raises the risk of high blood pressure for both genders, esophagus cancer for men, and hemorrhagic stroke for women. 

In the guidance, the ministry said: “There are individual differences in the effects of alcohol on diseases. Therefore, if you try to drink less than these amounts, you can reduce your chances of contracting the disease, although it cannot be said that you will not develop the disease.” 

 To minimize health risks, the guidelines advise consuming food before or during alcohol consumption, drinking water between alcoholic drinks, and taking breaks from alcohol during the week. 

The guidelines also discourage heavy drinking in a short period, pressuring others to consume alcohol, and using alcohol as a remedy for high anxiety levels or sleep deprivation. 

Japan’s health ministry aims to promote healthier drinking habits among its population, acknowledging the need for ongoing efforts to address alcohol-related health concerns. 

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