The new rules have been instituted by the Association’s members, which includes Nikka Whisky, and will become effective from the 1st April 2021.
While the Association is a government-approved organisation, it is not a government agency, and therefore this change in regulations will be internally enforced by the Association’s members rather than by any official legislation.
As members of the Association, Nikka Whisky and its parent company Asahi Breweries (of Tokyo, Japan) will follow the new labelling standards; the change is something both producers support, as it seeks to provide further clarity to consumers when selecting their whisky.
Nikka’s labelling is currently unaffected by the change in labelling standards, but the producer has nonetheless decided to provide further information for each whisky on its website, again in the interests of clarifying which products meet the criteria of ‘Japanese whisky’. Nikka's full response to the development is available to read here.
As Japanese whisky continues to rise in popularity and as consumers are increasingly looking to learn more about what they drink, this is considered an important step in providing more transparency in a category that has been confusing for many.
To see the Association’s full statement, click here [in Japanese] or here for the document in English.
The full text of the new definition of 'Japanese whisky' can be found here.