Police in the Japanese capital are urging people to moderate their alcohol consumption this festive season following an increase in the number of deaths of drinkers hit by vehicles after falling asleep on the streets.
As of November 25, 10 people had been killed in such crashes this year, Tokyo police said in a recent Twitter post. Publish – accounting for 22% of all pedestrian fatalities in the capital. “That’s double what it was last year. Pedestrians, drink in moderation! the read message.
Police fear the death toll could rise further as people attend end-of-year celebrations and office parties, especially as nightlife resumes after Covid restrictions ease.
The department released a public service announcement video warning the public of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption and reminding traffic safety. It will be shown inside 60,000 taxis with monitors in Tokyo before New Year’s Eve.
Japan lifted its coronavirus state of emergency in October 2021, allowing restaurants to sell alcohol again and stay open later, but restrictions in some parts of the country remained in place until March of this year.
International travel to Japan resumed in October this year and tourism authorities are hoping for a wave of visitors during the holidays.
Japan has a relatively low level of alcohol consumption, according to a 2021 OECD study, which takes into account the impact of the pandemic, but social drinking is commonplace during the festivities.
The Japanese drink about 8 liters of pure alcohol per year per capita, which is roughly equivalent to 1.6 bottles of wine or about 3 liters of beer per week per person.
Alcohol consumption in Japan has declined during the pandemic, with restrictions hitting the operations of bars and other places selling drinks.
Falling sales have also led to lower liquor tax revenue, prompting a controversial campaign by the Japanese government this year to encourage young people to drink more alcohol.
But Japan’s health ministry has in the past warned of the dangers of drinking too much. In an article published last year on his website, he called heavy drinking a “major social problem” that persists despite the recent downturn in consumption. And he urged people with unhealthy drinking habits to “reconsider” their relationship with alcohol.