'Izakaya' bankruptcies hit record high

By Leika Kihara

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food will never go out of fashion, they can bounce back. It’s not just izakayas that are hurting, mothers are too, and gardeners, and teachers, pilots, taxi drivers, sandwich trucks, hoteliers, record shops etc etc

17 ( +20 / -3 )

The number of Japan's izakaya (dining bars) that went bankrupt hit a record high in the year that ended in March

That's a good sign that shows people are reasonable enough trying to avoid cramped public spaces like izakaya during pandemic. Also saving up some money since economy is not fully recovered yet.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This is what happens when the economic hardship is prolonged due to non-actions by the government -- with no light at the end of the tunnel still.

But we know who is not hurting -- Ginza steakhouses.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

More lies about economic recovery. The pandemic is not over yet and I fear the worst is yet to come for Japan with new cases increasing daily.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

175? Thats it? There are tens of thousands of izakayas in Japan.

And notice, that 175 is a "17% increase" over last year (when there was essentially no impact from COVID yet).

So that means in a "normal" year about 150 izakaya bankruptcies happen. But due to COVID only an extra 25 (17%) happened. That's not even one per prefecture.

Nothing-for-nothing, but Japan should be happy there were so few bankruptcies (probably due to all the yen dumped into restaurants to shut early).

15 ( +16 / -1 )

And more and more fairy tales. Recovering economy ? In Japan ? Without the government and the BOJ’s throwing money at the big companies half would be gone. Bars, restaurants, travel agencies, the entire entertainment sector, airlines, hotels, fitness, Karaoke, car sector and suppliers, office rent, public transport, taxi companies, all doing well, yes ? Steel, shipbuilding, sumitomo, Rakuten, Hitachi, Toshiba, Nissan, doing well ?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The small owner operator Izakayas are doing just fine the larger ones in high rent areas are getting smashed the government support just doesn't cut it..

Things are far from over and once the government cuts funding the amount of bankruptcies will be ridiculous...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

“the economy emerges from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Really? Can you please show us some data or figures to prove that.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Walked through the izakaya district of my hometown, Kumamoto, yesterday for the first time in years: complete "shutter dori."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If you don't sell A5 Grade Waygu you will be left in the dark, and not get any Gov't assistance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“the economy emerges from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.”

"Really? Can you please show us some data or figures to prove that."

Sure no problem.

1)Japan corporate bankruptcies hit 30-year low in 2020

2) Bank of Japan 'Tankan' Survey Upbeat Over Economic Recovery

Just to name to two.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

1)Japan corporate bankruptcies hit 30-year low in 2020

2) Bank of Japan 'Tankan' Survey Upbeat Over Economic Recovery

Yes, we know big corporations benefit from the government policies, since they are essentially THE government.

It's the small mom-and-pop types of places, and individuals that are hurting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

These 175 Izakaya that failed are more than likely ones that would have failed given enough time anyway and half are probably fakekaya set up to suck SOE close early money.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So that means in a "normal" year about 150 izakaya bankruptcies happen. But due to COVID only an extra 25 (17%) happened. That's not even one per prefecture.

Lol..25...gotta love the ever reliable, undoctored Japanese govt statistics. I could probably find 25 closed izakayas just by driving around a few nearby neighborhoods tonight.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I’m lucky to live in the countryside. But one of my favorite izakawa has closed. But everything is open as usual, people are happy.

would hate to live in the city.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some incredibly insensitive comments here. All you have to do is stroll through your neighborhood to see small businesses shuttered by this brutal pandemic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A rebound in global growth and domestic consumption has helped the world's third-largest economy recover from the doldrums, with business confidence improving to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter.

Yeah, the sun revolves around the earth. You have to believe me. Rebound due to the large companies benefiting from the stock markets flush with money from government pumped money and low interest rates.

Business confidence has not translated to increased salaries for the average taro and hanako.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Before February 2020, I went to an izakaya in Tokyo at least once a week spending usually 4000 or 5000 yen. After working from home I have no real reason to go into Tokyo and haven't been back there but a handful of times. I feel sorry for the workers and hope they find a way through this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A total of 175 izakaya - a mainstay of Japanese working culture and late-night drinking - went under in fiscal 2020, up 17% from a year ago and the highest level since compable data became available two decades ago, think tank Tokyo Shoko Research said on Friday.

Since the advent of the internet Investigative journalism has been dying slowly. How about taking a walk around a night life district to assesd the damage done to night life by this pandemic, it is jaw dropping and not the not-too-bad r figure being potrayed here. I was in Osaka Minami 3 weeks ago and the number of restaurnts with shutters down within a 50 sqm area was more than 20 and those are just the ones on the first floor visible to a passerby not counting the others on the other floors that have closed as well. 175 in the whole of Japan, what an utter joke.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No vaccine shots. No more funds given to the citizens. Slow Japanese Governmental plans. No real communication regarding the pandemic in Japan. The list just goes on. The blame is on the Japanese Governmental Officials.

'Izakaya' bankruptcies hit record high

4 ( +5 / -1 )

People stayed away from the bars to avoid crowds. Small restaurants are also suffering from the cost of investing in equipment to prevent the spread of the virus such as partitions," Tokyo Shoko Research said.

How much is the cost of a few bottle of sanitizers and the useless acrylic boards mentioned here. No mention of the free 60,000yen of tax payer money thrown restaurants, for bigger restaurants it is a drop in the ocean but for a mom and pop restaurant it is a windfall. Imagine a part timer or dispatched worker on 13000yen an hour working 10 hours a day makes 13,000yen a day and the vast majority make far less than 1300/hr. Deduct taxes,insurance and the like and it translates to working 8 days to make 60,000yen.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

175? Thats it? There are tens of thousands of izakayas in Japan.

Those are bankruptcies.

You do realise declaring bankruptcy is a serious thing to do, most small businesses try to just close take the loss if they can and not declare bankruptcy.

We just had an update from our local business association ( April so that is the normal thing each year).

In our ward alone there were over 160 Izakaya that closed or went under. This does not include restaurants, ramen shops, etc.. only Izakaya.

This is a small ward in Tokyo, more residential, I can imagine far more have gone under or closed in other wards.

Bankruptcy is a last and final resort.

Doing so means probably never again getting a loan to start up again.

Just closing taking the loss means the possibility of one day starting something new.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

175 may not sound like a lot but by that they really mean 175 Kabushiki Kaishas, these are more likely larger chains with multiple locations.

Small older Ugen Kaishas and kojin (no company privately owned) rarely declare bankruptcy if they do then the owners are personally responsible and it means personal bankruptcy also.

So the actual number of Izakayas that have closed is probably far far higher. As I pointed out in our ward alone it is well over 160 ( the real number isn't known because not all businesses were members of the business association).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Should have had a strict national lock down for a month or two and everything would probably be back to normal with business doing well. Lesson learned.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lesson learned.

Not by the government.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Should have had a strict national lock down for a month or two and everything would probably be back to normal with business doing well. Lesson learned.

Other countries has done it and few are Ok today, most with the exception of New Zealand and Australia maybe Taiwan are all seeing surges of covid and back into lockdown.

Even New Zealand and Australia have gone in and out of lockdown.

The second they reopen it starts all over again.

And in most places with strict lockdowns the governments provided support for the businesses and individuals not working.

Please don't go giving me the "you can get 1 million yen from the Japanese government for business losses" thing again.

1 million yen even those businesses that qualified for the max, does not cover most basic expenses and certainly doesn't pay employee's salaries.

My business got the 1 million yen and it took 8 months for them to process and finally aprove it.

I personally know 6 Izakaya, 4 Ramen shops, and several other retail businesses that have closed most having been around for many years in my area.

None declared bankruptcy they just couldn't afford to remain open, not only are the owners now out of work but so are their employees.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is a misleading and incomplete article because it doesn't define what bankruptcy is to the layman. Also, it doesn't make the distinction between registered incorporated companies vs. privately run businesses. Basically the closures of on-premise Izakaya in Japan, incorporated or not would be that number 175 by a factor of a 50 or more. That data wouldn't be that easy to collect and would involve actual journalistic reporting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My business got the 1 million yen and it took 8 months for them to process and finally aprove it.

Lucky you. You got the one million, I got zero because I just started concentrating on growing my online and export business and as a result there wasn't any comparable data for the previous year, my shop on amazon has stayed closed for a year now and online sales to foreign countries has also dried with inability to fulfill orders due to the prolonged stopping acceptance of air package to the U.S and my other major markets, all the while the national insurance has kept on bombarding me with bills for pension and medical insurance despite making virtually nothing, Time for capitalism to make way for something different as it won't end well but end with a french revolution kind of ending that the masses will take to the streets demanding they have been screwed enough by a selected few and are not taking it any longer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe the answer is ban all small restaurants in Japan. Create a viable system where only multinational companies like KFC, Macdonald’s and BurgerKing are allowed to sell any hospitality food in japan. The mass production of easy fast food would lead to the decline of virus infections in society. As staff wages are very cheap, consumers can also get the advantage of affordable cheap factory farmed food.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Yep got all the same, new physical store on top, pension, health insurance all want their money, online sales, same problem with delivery. My wife cracked up the 100,000 yen from the government to everyone just went right back to the government in health insurance and even then it didn't cover the whole amount.

My business depends on tea ceremony performers as clients and high end Small private boutique restaurans, that use or need to repair antique dishes, they are all closed now and no idea if they will ever open again.

None will be in the bankruptcy stats because they just closed down not declaring bankruptcy to avoid the problems involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can we even really blame Covid for this? In the US, 60% of new restaurants fail within their first year, with a whopping 80% failing within their first five years. And that’s in normal economic circumstances. There’s a good chance most of these izakayas would have closed even without Covid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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