A group of lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties have banded together to form a group called Arukoru Mondai Giin Renmei (Diet members concerned about alcohol-related problems). They have submitted a bill to establish a law on measures regarding alcohol-related problems, including health issues and alcoholism.
The group is made up of Diet members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, their junior coalition partner New Komeito and opposition Democratic Party of Japan. Led by LDP Deputy Secretary General Gen Nakatani, they are aiming to require the government to create a policy program in order to reduce the number of people suffering from alcoholism. Statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare estimate that there are 810,000 alcoholics all over the country. The group also believes that some increasing societal problems like driving under the influence, violence and child abuse all stem from alcohol-related issues. The bill also wants to require producers and sellers of alcoholic beverage to include a warning about excessive drinking through labels and advertisements. Several groups have been calling for legislation to regulate heavy drinking and also to create a support system for recovering alcoholics.
This has led to a lively debate online amongst netizens, some of whom were saying that a law like this is good but questioning as to how the government can actually regulate this. A lot were surprised at the estimated number of alcoholics in Japan while some say that this is a matter of morality and the government should not have anything to do with it.
[ via Japan Crush ]